Is WikiLeaks nearing a Wiki-Pocolypse?
WikiLeaks is facing quite a predicament.
WikiLeaks is a not-for-profit organization, formed in 2006, that "leaks" private classified information provided by whistle-blowers and other news leakers.
To say that WikiLeaks has shocked us all, while pushing the meaning of investigative journalism, would be an understatement.
In the last few years WikiLeaks has released many files containing controversial classified information:
- The Guantanamo files documents the torture of detainees at Guantánamo Bay.
- The 9/11 Messages document some 500,000 messages sent during the September 11 attacks from civilians and government agencies.
- The Afghan War Diary and Iraq War Logs document American involvement in the wars.
- Collateral Murder reveals the unprovoked shooting of over a dozen people in Baghdad by U.S. military.
- CableGate has exposed some 251,287 confidential cables from U.S. embassies around the world, exposing pretty nasty stuff dating back to 1966.
U.S. Justice Department launched a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks shortly following the release of CableGate last year, stirring up much trouble for WikiLeaks founder and once Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, Julian Assange.
Assange has been called a "high-tech terrorist" by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden for doing something that has been the role of journalists forever: supplying the public with investigative reporting of events.
Assange is also facing threat of extradition to Sweden over an alleged sexual assault involving two women.
One of these women is rumored to have worked with the CIA.
In December of 2010, U.S. Justice Department issued a subpoena for social networking site Twitter to give up information on WikiLeaks' main account, and the accounts of three individuals connected to WikiLeaks: Seattle computer researcher Jacob Appelbaumsuch, member of the Icelandic parliament Birgitta Jonsdottir and Dutch volunteer Rop Gonggrij.
Fighting for our rights on the information highway were the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), claiming that this would be a breach to everyone's rights to obtain these files without a warrant.
It has now been passed this week.
Basically, if they feel like changing it, it's your responsibility to be aware of the changes by checking http://twitter.com/privacy. If Twitter feels a change is "material" it's at their discretion if they feel like notifying you via a twitter update. By just continuing to use your service you're agreeing to any revised policy.
Starting late October, WikiLeaks has suspended the publishing of top secret leaked information and is focusing on fundraising, in order to keep its head above water after being back-doored by financial institutions such as Pay Pal, VISA and MasterCard.
The backlash from these main financial institutions has left people without a way to donate, cutting into 95% of the company's donations.
If Assange can't find a way around this financial shut down, that may be exactly what he's forced to do: shut down.
With the fate of WikiLeaks and our own privacy on the information highway threatened, the outcome is unknown.
Will Wikileaks live on to tell the hundreds of secrets Assange is supposedly still sitting on, or is this just too much for one small company to take on?
This could be the beginning of a fight for our rights to privacy and free speech, and the end of days for espionage-esque secret spiller WikiLeaks.
Kendra Hayes, Webmaster