Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wiki Leaks Revolution

Wiki leaks, an International nonprofit organization which has acquired quite a reputation for publishing sensitive material from anonymous sources has been the center of much debate.
Wiki leaks works on principles that it calls foundation of ethical journalism combining the latest security technologies.

Julian Assange, a 39 year old Australian is its founder who has a long career being a publisher, journalist, internet activist and software developer. Assange has worked as a computer programmer and was a hacker during his youth.
No one had thought about this discovery of 21st century 10 years ago that shook the capital world and force the sole super power to censor it to the extent of shutting down a website completely. Wiki leaks have exposed the true face of free speech and free information propagators.
Wiki leaks have emboldened the free speech supporters, angered politicians and have provoked unparallel global interest both positive, negative and of great surprise. Wiki leaks revolution have sparked a great debate about freedom of information and questioned the state’s right to protect its secrets.
Though website has been around since 2006, but in Pakistan many people came to know about it in Late November 2010 when for the first time it leaked matters related to Pakistani government and its agencies including ISI.
Following are the important events in History of Wiki leaks since it was founded in 2006:
  • December 2006: Wiki leaks website is launched and published its very first document. Wiki leaks run by the “The sunshine Press” claims to be dedicated to the release of other wise unavailable documents.
  • January 2007: Julian Assange goes on to identify himself as the editor in chief and founding member of the Wiki leaks.
  • April 2008: Assange and Wiki leaks win “The Economist’s freedom of expression” and “New Media” awards respectively.
  • November 2009: Wiki leaks published 5, 37000 text messages sent on Sept 11, 2001 which received both praise and criticism for the act.
  • December 2009: Other than a form to submit new material, all access to wiki leaks website is suspended due to shortage of funds.
  • April 2010: Wiki leaks released a video showing U.S military pilots opening fire on people killing 12 unarmed men, including two Reuter’s photographers.
  • July 2010: J.Assange announced at a TED conference that submissions on Wiki leaks are once again open.
  • July 2010: Wiki leaks releases Afghan war diary, making public 77,000 documents about war in Afghanistan.
  • October 2010: Wiki leaks released nearly 400,000 documents related to war in Iraq, the greatest data leak in the history of U.S military.
  • November 2010: Wiki leaks along with five other major publications leaks U.S diplomatic cables on Nov 28. Just two days later, Interpol puts Assange on its red notice list of wanted persons. For the first time, major political figures and institutions of Pakistan including ISI are mentioned in the leaks.
  • December 2010: Amazon and Pay pal cease to offer their services to Wiki leaks, and are accused by supporters of acting under to the political pressure by U.S government.
Wiki Leaks Attacks:
The first attack on Wiki Leaks was made within 24 hours of it publishing unclassified diplomatic cables online, when distributed denial of services (DDoS) attacked Wiki Leaks in an attempt to make it vulnerable to users downloading the sensitive information.
(DDoS) attacks forced Wiki leaks to move its hosting onto Amazon’s cloud infrastructure but this proved only short term solution as Amazon terminated its hosting contract shortly after, citing reasons of its terms of services.
Alongside these technical problems Wiki leaks miseries were soon enhanced by financial woes when government pressure forced Papal, VISA and Master card stopped their services to the website, thus stopping payments to the website contributors.
Revenge of the Hackers:
These attacks on Wiki leaks did not go unchallenged and soon a group of hackers and activists “Hacktivists” called “Anonymous” announced its support for Wiki leaks. This group declared war on companies and politicians they felt were sources of problems for the Wiki Leaks.
Amazon was one of the first to come under the group’s cross hairs for terminating the hosting service of Wiki Leaks. Although group was unable to make very significant disorder in Amazon’s internet infrastructure. Master card, Visa, PayPal all were victims of DDoS attacks for stopping their services to Wiki Leaks.
Here is what most power full people of the world said about Wiki leaks:
1. Wile I am concerned about the disclosure of sensitive information from the battlefield that could potentially jeopardize individuals or operations, the fact is, these documents don’t reveal any issues that haven’t already informed our public debate on Afghanistan.
Barack Obama, U.S President July 27, 2010 Courtesy ABC News
2. “Diplomacy can’t be, shouldn’t be a reality TV show. Hasn’t wiki leaks gone too far”
Khalid al khalifa, Nov 28, 2010
3. “This disclosure is not just an attack on America’s foreign policy; it is an attack on the International community, the alliances and partnerships, the conventions and negotiations that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity”
Hillary Clinton, U.S sec of State 29, 2010
4. “I support Julian Assange, whom I see as a pioneer of free speech, transparent government and the digital revolution in journalism. His commitment to exposing the follies of the government and business offers the greater society a chance to protect themselves from these follies. Some aren’t follies. Some are crimes”
Michael Moore, December 14, 2010
Journalism after Wiki leaks:
Wiki leaks have indeed become a new media giant. Over the course of last century journalists became part of their organizations which are part of media conglomerates and thus helping the state in its vicious cycle to press the voice of ordinary people but Wiki leaks have supported the interests of common man on the street and given them a hope that there are ways that they can contribute for the better still in this world. No doubt,Wiki leaks have become a necessity for every Journalist.
As Wiki leaks is still on it mission to make this world a free information world it will be constantly on move both in its location and its logical presence by spreading its online presence in mirror websites in order to protect itself both from hackers and governments alike.
Wiki Leaks also have contributed greatly to make an ordinary citizen brave and standing against injustice and tyranny whether by governments or any secret hands that were use to hide before.

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