Julian Assange (1971 - ) is an Australian hacker and activist, best known as the founder of the controversial liberal website Wikileaks, a repository of leaked government documents. Assange actively tries to undermine various western governments, especially that of the United States, by releasing classified material via his website. He studied physics and mathematics at the University of Melbourne. He wrote Strobe, the first free and open-source port scanner, and contributed to the book Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier.
Prior to WikiLeaks, Assange was involved with an organization of computer hackers and was arrested for his involvement with the group in 1991. After the arrest, he became an independent programmer. Most of the software he produced was designed to keep whistleblowers and dissidents anonymous.
As of November 18, 2010, there is a warrant out for his arrest in Sweden. Assange was previously investigated for rape, but the charges were ultimately dropped. However, there is an international warrant for Assange, as he is wanted for questioning in Sweden in relation to a rape investigation. On June 19, 2012, Ricardo Patiño, the Ecuadorian foreign minister, announced that Assange had applied for political asylum and that the Ecuadorian government was analysing his request. At that time, Assange was in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. On August 16, Patiño announced that the Ecuadorian government was granting Assange political asylum. It is not clear how, if ever, Assange will be able to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy grounds.
His anarchistic hope is that faith in government will decline and individuals will take on more personal responsibilities for their lives. It is not clear how exposing classified documents of democratic countries will encourage people to become more responsible for their lives.
Assange has a 20-year-old son in Australia.
- "Julian Assange pide asilo político en embajada de Ecuador en Londres", El Comercio. Retrieved on September 17, 2012. (es)
- Hough, Andrew. "Julian Assange: WikiLeaks founder seeks political asylum from Ecuador", Daily Telegraph, 19 June 2012.
- Declaración del Gobierno de la República del Ecuador sobre la solicitud de asilo de Julian Assange (Spanish)
- Sarah Palin: hunt WikiLeaks founder like al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders. Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved on September 17, 2012.
- US embassy cables culprit should be executed, says Mike Huckabee, The Guardian, December 1, 2010, Haroon Sidiqqui. "Mike Huckabee said, 'Whoever in our government leaked that information is guilty of treason, and I think anything less than execution is too kind a penalty'"