WikiLeaks, Anonymous and More: The Ripple Effect of the Quest for Internet Free Speech

By December 09, 2010
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The release of confidential documents has had a wider effect than on recently arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The organization has been the subject of individual and company censure, as well as the inspiration for its own hacktivist protectorate.

Sections of US Diplomatic Cables were released by WikiLeaks beginning on November 29th of this year, continuing to be disseminated this  month by that site as well as via BitTorrent. The international organization is best known for publishing documents that it has obtained from anonymous news sources, and the latest material’s release has had rippling effects. Not only does newly dubbed “Cablegate” concern the US and those countries’ consulates whose confidential communications were suddenly made public, but also various groups who have hosted data, facilitated funding and had anything to do with WikiLeaks or known members thereof.

These groups, official and unofficial have been subject to media attention as well as possible legal action. As described by, Amazon terminated its Wikileaks Web site hosting, which now uses servers outside of the US. This was done shortly after Senator Joe Lieberman’s staff contacted the web services provider. Liberman’s spokesperson explains, "Sen. Lieberman hopes that the Amazon case will send the message to other companies that might host Wikileaks that it would be irresponsible to host the site.”

This type of action inspired a group of IT specialists to take umbrage towards Lieberman and major online payment companies -Visa and Mastercard both experienced DDoS attacks and offline time on their sites. These hacktivists, a group known as Anonymous (who ReadWriteWeb suggest are loosely affiliated with 4chan) announced a Payback mission against Lieberman, these companies and others due to their interference with WikiLeaks affairs. The credit card companies became targets for blocking payments to WikiLeaks.

Anonymous sites protecting free speech as its primary objective on its Web site. A constantly changing group of people, they focused on allying themselves with WikiLeaks as a campaign to achieve their goal: “Win the right to keep the Internet free of any control from any entity, corporation, or government. We will do this until our, proverbial, dying breath. We do this not only for our selves, but for the world and its people at large.

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