Baker & Taylor aDiscusses the life of Julian Assange, from his days as a young hacker in Australia to the creation of and controversy surrounding WikiLeaks.
Rosen Pub Group In 26, an Australian computer programmer and former hacker named Julian Assange launched a website called WikiLeaks that he claimed would change the way governments worked. Assange envisioned the website as a place where people could post secret and confidential documents that would reveal the abuses by governments and corporations perpetrated against ordinary citizens. In less than five years, Assange took WikiLeaks from an obscure site known only to political activists and hackers to an international phenomenon. Documents made public by the website revealed a wide range of illegal and questionable behaviors by companies and governments around the world, from cover-ups of shady banking practices to assassination plots. Human rights groups and journalists have praised WikiLeaks for its work. Assange and WikiLeaks have received awards and recognition for promoting open governments. Yet they also have been criticized numerous times for releasing sensitive documents. Politicians in many countries have accused the site of attempting to undermine governments. In the United States, Assange has been vilified by some for releasing information about U.S. military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the website has been criticized for endangering these and other military and intelligence operations. WikiLeaks has faced efforts to cut off its funding and has survived several attempts to close it down through political pressure and court actions. Several major crises have threatened to derail WikiLeaks, including a criminal case against Assange in Sweden for which he is facing extradition. Key members left the group due to disagreements over the website’s mission and goals, and the methods used to achieve them. In addition, technical problems have periodically hampered the website’s ability to accept leaked documents and undermined its security. Even if WikiLeaks itself fades or collapses under the weight of its own controversies and challenges, the organization has still acted as a trailblazer in the fight for freedom of electronic information and provided an example for future activists to follow—and for those in positions of authority to fear. This book penetrates the highly secretive world of WikiLeaks, profiling its highest-ranking decision-makers, and examining the philosophy and motivation of its founder. Combining cloak-and-dagger, high-stakes international intrigue with impassioned public debate over the ethics of leaking and a straight-forward biography of a man and the company he founded, this book is a fascinating, compelling, thought-provoking read. The volume provides a privileged glimpse into the corridors of power and the top-secret decision-making we would otherwise remain unaware of; also included are fact sheets on Assange and WikiLeaks, and an informative timeline.