Posts Tagged ‘ Wikileaks ’

The Fifth Estate


‘The Fifth Estate’, based on two books by Daniel Domscheit-Berg and David Leigh, is the story of Julian Assange’s rise and of his somewhat peculiar working relationship with Berg, former spokesperson for WikiLeaks. Of course, included within, is a look into the global impact of WikiLeaks itself and all that governmental disapproval it’s since managed to amass.

Given the attention that’s surrounded Assange the last few years, a high profile film on the WikiLeak’s founder was always inevitable. For it, Bill Condon, famed for the likes of ‘Kinsey’ and dare I say, two of the Twilight movies, was given the reigns. His long time editor, Virginia Katz, keeps the cuts edgy and hurried straight from the opening scene. If only its plot structure and story could live up to all those impressively symbiotic technical aspects. Continue reading

Snowden Breaks Silence for Condemnation

File:Edward Joseph Snowden - Arrival at Sheremetyevo International Airport 03.jpg

Ecuador embassy car in front of Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow on June 23, 2013 around the arrival of Edward Snowden. Author: Dmitry Rozhkov.

Former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, has made a broad appeal for asylum to a number of countries around the globe, including Ireland. The requests were made to a number of countries including Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and Venezuala. Snowden recently withdrew his request for asylum in Russia, following comments by Vladimir Putin that he would only be welcomed in Russia if he discontinued “his work at bringing harm” to the US.

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Snow Joke As Edward Gives America The Run Around

The United States has increased pressure on Russia to hand over former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, who is believed to be hiding out in Moscow while waiting for news of an asylum request to Ecuador.

However Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has said that Snowden has not crossed into Russian territory, rejecting US demands to extradite the National Security Agency leaker, who continues to evade justice.

Lavrov said that accusing Russia of “violation of US laws and even some sort of conspiracy” with regard to Snowden is “absolutely ungrounded and unacceptable.” Continue reading

Anonymous In Ireland

Bullies. Keyboard warriors. Hackers on Steroids. These are the various labels placed upon those who would call themselves or be associated as members of the shadowy online collective known as ‘Anonymous.’ Few people will not have heard of these internet ‘hacktivists.’ After all, these were the people behind the infamous Project Chanology – an organised attack on the Church of Scientology beginning in 2008, the attacks which shut down PlayStation Network for weeks in early 2011 and Operation Payback, targeting those who were helping to shut down the document archive website, Wikileaks – used to share documents from whistleblowers – including Paypal, Amazon and Mastercard. Targets are often chosen for their attacks against online freedom; the US government, and the American recording industry, for example.

The group’s name originated from the anonymity granted to users on certain internet imageboards and forums on which the group was born, 4chan and Encyclopedia Dramatica being among these; users who did not give themselves a name were assigned the tag of ‘Anonymous’. IRC channels and more mainstream forms of communication such as Facebook and Twitter are used to co-ordinate ideas and strategies. The group has no leader or real collection of individuals controlling the movement, relying, instead, on the power of the collective to move projects forward. Chris Landers, writing in the Baltimore City Chronicle in 2008, gave perhaps the best definition of the group’s structure –

“Anonymous is a group, in the sense that a flock of birds is a group. How do you know they’re a group? Because they’re travelling in the same direction. At any given moment, more birds could join, leave, peel off in another direction entirely.”

‘Membership’ is varied, with people of all ages, gender, ethnic background or religion involving themselves with the group’s activities. Membership of Anonymous is something which is hard to define, simply visiting an associated website or contributing to a certain cause can be seen as membership. Attacks often consist of several people spreading the word about a specific target, ordinary users will then often voluntarily contribute their computer to a botnet by downloading LOIC, the Low Orbit Ion Cannon, which peppers targets with high volumes of packets of information, otherwise known as a Distributed Denial-of-Service attack (DDoS), used most recently to bring down the websites of the US Department of Justice and the Motion Picture Association of America, during the protests against the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

Over the years, the group’s tools and skills have gone from strength to strength. The sheer anonymity and size of the organisation means that when one is arrested, ten more will take their place. Government officials, security experts (see the humiliation of HBGary Federal CEO, Aaron Barr), corporations and many other Anonymous targets have found out, to their cost, the ill effects of getting on the group’s wrong side. Perhaps the technophobic Irish government might take this into consideration when enacting the EU’s new copyright laws. While we may think of them as an American phenomenon of hackers and griefers taking down unjust multinational corporations, this group likes to play close to our home too, and counts many Irish people amongst its membership. Earlier last month, the Department of Justice had said that a ‘whole government response’ was underway following DDoS attacks on the websites of the Departments of Finance and Justice. The Swedish branch of Anonymous has recently been blamed for accessing similar government websites and posting passwords and email addresses of government users. According to the Twitter account of the attackers, the motive was the government’s intention to pass European legislation regarding online piracy; the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), Ireland and the EU’s version of SOPA. Unlike the US legislation, however, there will be no vote on whether it will come in to practice. Instead, it will be brought into effect under ministerial order. Music and film companies will be able, under the new legislation, to force Irish ISP’s to block access to sites suspected of hosting illegal content, sites including Facebook and Youtube could well be affected. On Wednesday night last, the Labour Party’s website was taken down along with that of Irish Aid; several staff member’s personal information was posted underneath a ‘Stop ACTA’ banner.

Over the past number of years, Anonymous has only gone from strength to strength, taking heart from their numerous victories. More, undoubtedly, is yet to come from these internet hacktivists. In the group’s own words, they do not forgive, they do not forget. Expect them.

Assange Battling Extradition To Sweden

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is back in court today for a full extradition hearing over alleged sex offences.

The 39-year-old Australian is wanted by the Swedish authorities over claims that he sexually assaulted two women during a visit to Stockholm last August.

At Belmarsh Magistrates Court in London,his lawyers are expected to argue that he could face execution in the United States if he is extradited to Sweden.

They believe there is a “real risk” he could be extradited on to the US, where he could be detained in Guantanamo Bay or even face the death penalty.

The claim that he could face extradition to the US and even execution emerged in a skeleton argument released by his lawyers in the wake of a preparatory legal hearing at the same court last month.

Mr Assange’s legal team have also suggested that extraditing him to Sweden could breach Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which bans torture.

The internet activist, who has been on bail since he handed himself into London Metropolitan Police in December, denies committing any offences and has vowed his work will continue as the extradition battle continues.

Wikileaks is currently mirrored on over 1400 websites, in order to ensure that it will not be brought down.