Julian Assange lost the fight against extradition to Sweden, making it even more likely the United States will be the next to demand his extradition to face charges relating to the posting of allegedly stolen confidential U.S. State Department cables on WikiLeaks.
As expected, a
British judge has ruled WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to
Sweden to face sexual assault charges. This opens the door to a possible
extradition to the United States to face charges relating to the posting of
allegedly stolen confidential U.S. diplomatic cables on the WikiLeaks Website.
the judge who heard the case, rejected claims made by Assange's defense team
that because of the advance publicity surrounding the allegations, Assange
would not receive a fair trial. The lawyers are set to appeal the judge's
decision, which was announced Feb. 24. If the appeal is denied, he will be sent
to Sweden within 10 days.
government had been waiting to see the British court verdict before determining
what action it could take, Assange told the Guardian.
called the charges false and politically motivated because of the controversial
classified documents WikiLeaks had obtained and published. He has been fighting extradition
since he was arrested and denied
bail in December, at the height of the WikiLeaks scandal as 250,000 U.S.
embassy cables were posted on the site over the space of several weeks.
incident began with an act of theft. Government documents were stolen, just the
same as if they had been smuggled out in a briefcase," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
said in a recent
speech. "The fact that WikiLeaks used the Internet is not the reason we
criticized it," she said.
government changed a number of its policies to prevent future data leaks, such
as banning removable storage media on classified networks. Security companies point
to WikiLeaks to highlight how organizations need to implement stricter data
controls to prevent sensitive data from being leaked.
has been trying to raise money for his legal defense, WikiLeaks itself has its
own financial troubles. Several financial organizations
business with the organization in recent months, making fund-raising nearly
impossible. WikiLeaks is losing nearly $650,000 a week, Assange told the Swiss
newspaper Tribune de Geneve last week.
been losing more than 600,000 francs a week since the start of the publication
of the diplomatic cables. To continue our business, we would need to find a way
or other to get this money back," he said.
so thinly staffed that it can't process documents it recently received that
allegedly name rich and influential global players guilty of tax crimes,
according to CNN. Assange also hinted about an upcoming "megaleak" about a
major bank, which many believe to involve Bank of America, but nothing has been
Assange is distracted by his legal problems and WikiLeaks is struggling to
operate, it would be premature for organizations to relax their data-leak-prevention
strategies. There are plenty of other whistle-blowing sites waiting to
publicize leaked documents and information, such as OpenLeaks
, founded by former WikiLeaks spokesman
WikiLeaks, OpenLeaks plans to be only an intermediary, connecting
whistleblowers with reporters and human rights organizations that would be
willing to publicize the information. Ironically, its launch was moved up when
someone posted information about the site to another leak site, Cryptome.org.
that Anonymous has also launched its own leaks site, anonleaks.ru, with
information obtained when the group hacked HBGary
, a security provider that works with the
federal government. Anonymous is a loose group of hackers that have launched
several denial-of-service attacks against the Websites of MasterCard, Visa and
PayPal in retaliation for those companies cutting off WikiLeaks.
suggests that the "WikiLeaks mini-era" has been
surpassed, and there will be more "Anonymous-type hacks" to "simply steal and
torrent the family jewels of the spies, officials, lobbyists and corporations."
In short, instead of waiting for whistleblowers to bring the data to leak
sites, hackers will hack into highly sensitive military and corporate computer
systems and steal information themselves.