What is Wikileaks?
Wikileaks is a self-described "not-for-profit media organization," launched in 2006 for the purposes of disseminating original documents from anonymous sources and leakers. Its Web site says: "Wikileaks will accept restricted or censored material of political, ethical, diplomatic or historical significance. We do not accept rumor, opinion, other kinds of first hand accounts or material that is publicly available elsewhere."
More-detailed information about the history of the organization can be found on Wikipedia (with all the caveats that apply to a rapidly changing Wiki topic). Wikipedia incidentally has nothing to do with Wikileaks—both share the word "Wiki" in the title, but they're not affiliated.
Who is Julian Assange, and what is his role in the Wikileaks organization?
Julian Assange is an Australian citizen who is said to have served as the editor-in-chief and spokesperson for Wikileaks since its founding in 2006. Before that, he was described as an advisor. Sometimes he is cited as its founder. The media and popular imagination currently equate him with Wikileaks itself, with uncertain accuracy.
In 2006, Assange wrote a series of essays that have recently been tapped as an explanation of his political philosophy. A close reading of these essays shows that Assange's personal philosophy is in opposition to what he calls secrecy-based, authoritarian conspiracy governments, in which category he includes the US government and many others not conventionally thought of as authoritarian. Thus, as opposed to espousing a philosophy of radical transparency, Assange is not "about letting sunlight into the room so much as about throwing grit in the machine."
From Technology Review
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