In recent months Wikileaks has transformed from a covert, rarely visited archive into one of the most important news stories in the world. The editor-in-chief, Julian Assange, has made a name more himself through the leaks he has helped publish and gained a reputation that merited death-threats from conservatives in Congress such as Mike Huckabee. No longer a young and curious hacker with the pseudonym Mendax, Assange has been arrested and the target of both massive scorn and massive praise from his followers and journalists who use the information from Wikileaks to publish breaking stories that stab even the United States in the heart.
So where is this all going? Groups such as Anonymous — one of their outlets being the infamous 4chan — have made cyber-attacks against very real and tangible forces such as big businesses and banks that cut the accounts of Wikileaks after the release of sensitive information about the United States. Any further action against Wikileaks have been met with threats of continuous attacks and the very structure of the internet is now put into question as the discussion of freedom of speech and how far it extends rages onward.
Worst-case scenarios for the internet involve complete government oversight and censorship of any and all information that may be considered sensitive and/or illegal through an international body such as the United Nations. Even if something like this was not only passed, put into action and became startlingly effective, other outlets for computer-based communication such as the Freenet offer an almost unlimited and invincible sanctuary for anyone seeking to publish sensitive material or contact others with similar interests.
I first heard of Wikileaks after reading a report from the Guardian about the Freenet or “Darknet,” an anonymous network of servers that operates similarly to the internet but is completely uncensored, unrestricted, and unruled. This creates a haven for all sorts of powerful and interesting discussion. Curious, I downloaded some software and connected to the Freenet through Firefox and browsed my way into some documents I would never expect to find on the internet but also a mirror of Wikileaks in case it was ever brought down internet-side.
I encourage any reader to take the time to understand the new phenomenon that is Wikileaks and release the world of techophiles and cyberpunks is coming to be. Attached below is an informational documentary created by a Swedish television station does an excellent job of explaining everything one might need to know about the recent news.