WikiLeaks: Ecuador says it blocked Assange’s internet over U.S. election meddling

ecuador explains assange internet block julian
Cancillería del Ecuador
As Julian Assange sits in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London twiddling his thumbs and contemplating life without the internet, his WikiLeaks site is continuing to dump masses of sensitive material on the web for everyone and his dog to peruse.

The whistleblowing site’s founder and editor has been holed up in the embassy building since 2012, unwilling to leave for fear of extradition to Sweden on sex assault allegation, and then possibly to the U.S. where he could face charges in connection with WikiLeaks’ ongoing publication of classified government documents.


Over the weekend, shortly after WikiLeaks posted another set of confidential content – this time reportedly containing transcripts of paid speeches made a couple of years ago by Hillary Clinton to Goldman Sachs employees – Assange’s access to the internet was mysteriously blocked.

WikiLeaks’ Twitter account initially blamed a “state actor” for the move, but on Monday Ecuadorian officials admitted that it was behind the action, though declined to say why.

Having had time to formulate a response, the government on Tuesday explained that it’d “temporarily” cut Assange’s internet because his and WikiLeaks’ actions were interfering with the U.S. election.

“The Government of Ecuador respects the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states. It does not interfere in external electoral processes, nor does it favor any particular candidate,” it said in a message shared on Twitter.

It added that the government had exercised its right to restrict access to some of its private communications network within its embassy in London, action that has apparently prevented Assange from going online.

The message also said that the Ecuadorian government “does not yield to pressure from other states,” apparently a response to allegations made by WikiLeaks earlier in the day claiming that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had put pressure on Ecuador to block Assange’s access to the internet, though Kerry’s team has rejected the allegation.

Back-up systems

But WikiLeaks can of course continue to operate without Assange’s input, and indeed has been posting more confidential content online over the last 48 hours.

In the last seven days alone, the site has published more than 12,000 internal emails nabbed from the private account of Clinton’s campaign chief John Podesta. The Democrats have described the WikiLeaks site as a “propaganda arm of the Russian government” that it says is working to help Donald Trump into the White House in next month’s presidential election.

As for Assange, he needn’t worry about the Ecuadorian government suddenly turfing him out of its embassy building. In its message, the government stated it would still offer the Australian asylum to “safeguard his life and physical integrity until he reaches a safe place.”

Emerging Tech

Does a steam-powered spacecraft hold the key to exploring the solar system?

A newly developed spacecraft prototype capable of using steam as a propellent may help the first miners survey potential dig sites and identify space rocks best fit for mining missions. Future versions may be fitted with sensors, allowing…
Movies & TV

J.J. Abrams wraps production on Star Wars: Episode IX with a heartfelt message

Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams has wrapped production on Star Wars: Episode IX, which he directed and co-wrote. Here's everything we know about the movie before it premieres in December 2019.

Apple loses battle to use Intel modems in Germany in latest clash with Qualcomm

Apple is following the Federal Trade Commission's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.

Need a date for Valentine's Day? Cozy up with the best dating apps of 2019

Everyone knows online dating can be stressful, time-consuming, and downright awful. Check out our top picks for the best dating apps, so you can streamline the process and find the right date, whatever you're looking for.

YouTube beats Apple, Netflix as the most trusted brand by millennials

The popular video sharing website YouTube climbed up in an annual Mblm study, moving up from third place in 2018 and coming ahead of both Apple and Netflix in final 2019 rankings. 

Russia will ‘unplug’ from the internet as part of a cyber-defense test

Authorities across Russia are planning on unplugging the country from the global internet as part of a test of its cyber defenses. The disconnection will briefly keep all internet traffic inside the country.

Is the 5G spectrum harmful to our health? Experts say, 'Don't freak out'

There's plenty of consumer anxiety about radiofrequency (RF) radiation, specifically around millimeter waves (mmWave) used on 5G networks, but is it based in reality? We asked the FDA to give us its official view on the subject.

These are the coolest games you can play on your Google Chrome browser right now

Not only is Google Chrome a fantastic web browser, it's also a versatile gaming platform that you can access from just about anywhere. Here are a few of our favorite titles for the platform.

Gmail adds lots of new functionality to its right-click menu

Right-click on an email in Gmail and the list of actions is pretty limited. That's about to change, though, as Google has just announced it's expanding the list of options to make its email client that little bit more useful.

Tired of paying a monthly fee for Word? The best Microsoft Office alternatives

Looking for a competent word processor that isn't Microsoft Word? Thankfully, the best alternatives to Microsoft Office offer robust features, expansive compatibility, and an all-too-familiar aesthetic. Here are our favorites.

File Transfer Protocol explained: What FTP is and what it does

FTP stands for "File Transfer Protocol," and it's used to transfer files online. Most internet users don't need it, but web developers use it constantly. Here's what FTP is, how it works, and how you can get started using it.

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.

Lose the key for your favorite software? These handy tools can find it for you

Missing product keys getting you down? We've chosen some of the best software license and product key finders in existence, so you can locate and document your precious keys on your Windows or MacOS machine.

From beautiful to downright weird, check out these great dual-monitor wallpapers

Multitasking with two monitors doesn't necessarily mean you need to split your screens with two separate wallpapers. From beautiful to downright weird, here are our top sites for finding the best dual-monitor wallpapers for you.