Julian Assange Loses His Internet Privileges
On Wednesday, the government of Ecuador announced that it had turned off the Internet access of Julian Assange, effectively cutting off his ability to communicate with the outside world.
Assange, who is the famed founder of WikiLeaks, has been hiding at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for the past 6 years. He initially did so to avoid extradition to his native Sweden relating to charges there. Sweden has since dropped its extradition request, but Assange has remained in the embassy because of charges the British government has filed against him. It has been reported that — even though Ecuador has granted Assange citizenship — he has an uneasy relationship with the staff there, and they often clash.
The government of Equador says that the reason they have cut off Assange’s Internet access stems from an agreement they made in 2017 with Assange. Assange at that time agreed not to post messages that in any way interfere with the internal affairs of another country. The government alleges that Assange broke the agreement, though they so far have not substantiated this. However, the last message Assange sent out was a Twitter post in which he attacked a British official who insinuated that Assange should turn himself in.
This is not the first time that the Ecuadorian Embassy has cut off Assange’s Internet access. Back in October of 2016, they blocked his Internet access in response to the actions of Wikileaks. The organization had made public emails from Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaign that had been stolen. At that time, Ecuador said that the measures were temporary. While they have not made any such commitment this time, they have indicated that they are open to making new arrangements with Assange.
Kim Dotcom, who is a well known Internet pirate, learned what had happened to Assange and appealed to his fans to protest outside the embassy and demand that Assange’s Internet be reconnected. While the post has garnered many likes and reposts, no protests have yet formed.