Former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson has spoken of her “love” for Julian Assange.
The ex-Playboy model, 49, is rumoured to be dating the WikiLeaks founder, 45, who has been living under political asylum for almost five years at London’s Ecuadorian Embassy.
Now Anderson has gushed about Assange on her blog, in a long message accompanied by a picture of the founder of the whistle-blowing website.
WikiLeaks has sparked a debate about cybersecurity by publishing secret CIA documents. In a DW interview, its founder, Julian Assange, said he will publish more information – and he was critical of US tech companies.
There are no less than 16 different intelligence agencies in the United States. In 2017, they will cost US taxpayers some $70 billion (65 billion euros) – roughly twice Germany’s overall annual defense budget. The actual distribution of that sum among US intelligence services is classified, but revelations brought to light by Edward Snowden in 2013 suggest that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) receives the lion’s share.
In 2013, that sum was around $15 billion. Now the CIA, a highly funded agency tasked with gleaning state secrets from other countries, has a problem keeping its own secrets: On March 7, the whistleblower platform WikiLeaks began publishing CIA documents under the name “Vault 7.”
Bitcoin has seen its price fall slightly over the last 24 hours, dropping to its lowest price since mid-August.
The meme-inspired dogecoin also saw its value drop since yesterday, however significant gains over the last week will mean that this is less keenly felt.
Other major cryptocurrencies, including peercoin, darkcoin and namecoin, have seen their prices surge by between 8% and 16%.
Bitcoin creator pleaded with WikiLeaks
Satoshi Nakomoto, the pseudonymous creator of bitcoin, reportedly asked WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to not accept bitcoin for donations to the whistleblowing website.
The revelations come from Assange’s latest book that comes out this week, titled When Google Met WikiLeaks.
When a member of a bitcoin forum suggested WikiLeaks could accept bitcoin, Nakamoto apparently claimed such integration would “provoke unwanted government interest” in the nascent cryptocurrency.
“The project needs to grow gradually so the software can be strengthened along the way,” Nakamoto said. “I make this appeal to WikiLeaks not to try to use bitcoin.
“Bitcoin is a small beta community in its infancy. You would not stand to get more than pocket change and the heat you would bring would likely destroy us at this stage.”
Bitcoin gets boost from Digital Currency Council
A new association has launched that will offer training, support and digital currency certification for those within the cryptocurrency space.
The Digital Currency Council (DCC) is backed by the investment vehicle Bitcoin Opportunity and was founded by David Berger, the former CEO of the Institute of Private Investors.
“The emergence of digital currencies and their growing acceptance as a form of both commerce and investment is creating significant new business opportunities for financial advisors, brokers and other professionals,” said Berger in a statement.
“Our goal is to provide a place where financial advisors and their firms can go to get comprehensive training in digital currencies, and to create a standards-based designation that will be recognized as conveying a professional level of expertise in digital currencies: ‘DCC Certified.'”
Germany has been criticised by the whistleblowing site for failing to block a ‘weaponised malware’ dealer selling to regimes with poor human rights records
WikiLeaks has released more information on controversial commercial surveillance tools, criticising the German government for not blocking a “weaponised malware” developer from shipping its code to countries with regimes with poor human rights records.
WikiLeaks’ latest Spy Files publication included some previously unreleased versions of the malware in question, produced by FinFisher, a German firm that used to be part of UK-based Gamma International.
FinFisher can infect Apple OS X, Windows and Linux computers as well as Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows Phone devices.
The files, originally obtained by a hacker going by the name Phineas Fisher in August, should be used to improve detection systems to protect people’s PCs and mobiles, WikiLeaks said.
The organisation also believes the files will help researchers uncover further human rights abuses related to FinFisher, which can be used to siphon off data from machines and spy on communications, from email to Skype.
According to the leaks, FinFisher customers include law enforcement and government agencies in Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Mongolia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa and Vietnam.
This backs up data from Citizen Lab, a Toronto-based non-profit that focuses on protecting activists online, which last year released details on apparent use of FinFisher in 25 countries.
The FinFisher suite of spy software was originally brought to light when documents were found in the offices of Egypt’s secret police after former president Hosni Mubarak was deposed.
Since then, activists from Ethiopia and Bahrain, amongst other nations, claimed to have been targeted by governments using FinFisher.
WikiLeaks said Germany should take action to stop the malware spreading.
“FinFisher continues to operate brazenly from Germany selling weaponised surveillance malware to some of the most abusive regimes in the world. The Merkel government pretends to be concerned about privacy, but its actions speak otherwise,” said Julian Assange, WikiLeaks’ editor in chief.
“Why does the Merkel government continue to protect FinFisher? This full data release will help the technical community build tools to protect people from FinFisher including by tracking down its command and control centres.”
Assange’s organisation claimed FinFisher’s revenue from the sales documented in the leak amounted to around €50m (£40m), though Bill Marczak, a researcher from Citizen Lab, suggested this could have been over-estimated.
FinFisher and its previous owner Gamma have previously claimed they only sold their products to responsible governments, though researchers and activists believe the firm has lied about its customer list. It had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.
Claudio Guarnieri, an independent researcher who has been investigating FinFisher on behalf of Citizen Lab, told the Guardian the release should have a positive effect.
“I think it’s a good release. Firstly because now it collects the material from the breach and make some sense out of the data, when nobody really made the effort to do some decent work around it.”
Eric King, deputy director at Privacy International, also praised the release. “These new documents from Wikileaks give us greater insight into how companies like FinFisher and the governments they supply compromise our personal devices, and spy on the most private parts of our lives,” he said.
“More transparency is needed to hold companies like FinFisher to account, as well as the governments purchasing such equipment. Without public scrutiny of the surveillance technology industry, activists will continue to be targeted by repressive regimes and the damaging practices of FinFisher will be allowed to continue unabated.”
The wider fight against so-called “lawful interception” technologies continues. In the UK, Privacy International has been leading the charge, recently uncovering data implicating Swiss surveillance tech company Neosoft in “trying to equip and train a brutal government unit in Bangladesh”.
Hollywood and other entertainment groups have tried time and again to block The Pirate Bay in many countries. Of course, they have succeeded in blocking access to TPB. Recently, the MPAA conducted a research in order to show that blocking a website like The Pirate Bay can prove to be effective.
TorrentFreak noted that despite countries opting for website blocking as a solution to piracy, many have questioned the effectiveness. A Dutch court announced to unblock The Pirate Bay a few months ago.
Now, MPAA states in an internal research that blocking a website is a good idea.
The website revealed that a leaked draft mentioned the internal MPAA research that different copyright agencies want to present to the Australian government.
“Recent research of the effectiveness of site blocking orders in the UK found that visits to infringing sites blocked declined by more than 90% in total during the measurement period or by 74.5% when proxy sites are included,” the report reads.
So, the MPAA suggests that blocking websites helps in curbing piracy.
Chris Dodd, MPAA chief stated that ISPs blocking websites, like The Pirate Bay, is a great tool.
“In particular, Section 97A of the Copyright Act allowing courts to issue injunctions against service providers who know their services are being utilized for infringing purposes, has been one of the most effective tools anywhere in the world,” Dodd states.
TorrentFreak questioned the MPAA’s intention to take an interest in the blockades in UK. The website pointed out that the U.S. is the biggest source of traffic for The Pirate Bay and it is likely that the MPAA wants to block websites like Pirate Bay in the U.S.
The largest hacking case in Danish history began in confusion on Tuesday, after lawyers representing Swedish Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg and his 21-year-old Danish co-defendant accused the prosecution of “unreasonable” tactics.
The prosecution submitted a new 27-page document, and a USB stick containing 92 slides the morning the case began – documents that the defence complained should have been shown to them in advance, were confusing, and contained factual errors.
“It is unreasonable to produce this kind of factual and technically difficult material in a case of this nature,” Michael Juul Eriksen, who is representing the 21-year-old told the court. “I believe that the proceedings should be postponed if the material is to be permitted.”
Judge Kari Sørensen announced a 30-minute pause just 22 minutes after the proceedings began, and then after the case resumed, and the two sides were still unable to reach an agreement, she put proceedings on hold until after lunch.
The security breach has been a serious scandal in Denmark, with CSC and the police both coming under intense criticism.
Warg, 29, arrived in court early dressed in a crumpled white shirt and a grey hooded top, his once straggly hair shaven close.
Despite being held in solitary confinement in one of Denmark’s highest security prisons since November, he appeared in good spirits, intensely scrutinising the new documents submitted, and joking with his lawyer Louise Høj.
His Danish co-defendant looked comparatively smart in a crisp check shirt, blue jumper and thick black-rimmed designer glasses, inscrutable apart from when he waved and grinned at family and friends seated with the press behind a perspex screen.
After the senior prosecutor Maria Cingali read out the charges, Warg, speaking through his lawyer, pleaded “not guilty”.
When Anders Riisager, the deputy public prosecutor, who has been called in to assist Cingali in the case, retorted that the prosecution is under no obligation to provide all documents in advance, Eriksen argued that the fact that he had come prepared indicated he had expected the defence to object.
The prosecution’s indictment, submitted at the start of July, ran to just two pages, and contained very little information on what evidence they had amassed in their 15-month investigation of the case.
Warg is expected to argue, as he did in the related Swedish case in 2013, that the Macbook computer seized at his flat in Cambodia in August 2012, which contains much of the incriminating information for both cases, was a server he shared with several other people.
One of those others, he claims, may have accessed the computer remotely and then used it to carry out the intrusion.
Sweden’s Appeal Court ruled in 2013 that the prosecution had not provided sufficient evidence to rule out the possibility of remote control, as a result clearing Warg of hacking into the Scandinavian bank Nordea.
Police have failed to break the encryption on the 21-year-old Dane’s computer, despite his long 15-month wait in remand since his arrest.
The 21-year-old’s grandfather, who was in court to give his support, complained that the police had “absolutely nothing” to go on.
“I think the prosecution has a very, very meagre case,” he said. “They can’t find their own legs, and I hope Maria Cingali, who has been a big loud mouth in this case, has a very heavy fall.”
A key part of the police evidence cited in the remand hearings has been internet chats from February 2012 between a hacker who calls himself ‘Advanced Persistent Terrorist Threat’, who police believe is the Dane, and another called ‘My Evil Twin’, who police believe is Warg.
According to an article in Politiken on Sunday, the prosecution also has evidence that the Danish defendant travelled
to Cambodia, where Warg was then living in March 2012, just a month before CSC was hacked for the first time.
The police will also look at the timing of the intrusion, pointing out that the incursion into CSC’s mainframe ended on August 30th, 2012, the same day that Warg’s computers were seized.
Warg’s roles in setting up The Pirate Bay, a website allowing users to share films and music, so bypassing copyright, and advising WikiLeaks on encryption and security, have won him the support of hacktivist circles, in which he goes by the name “anakata”.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has credited Svartholm Warg with setting up “a key part of our infrastructure”.
One of the key witnesses the defence plan to call is Jacob Appelbaum, another WikiLeaks collaborator, whose testimony in 2013 was key to exonerating Svartholm at appeal in Sweden.
In the run up to the trial, the prosecution tried to prevent Appelbaum appearing, complaining that he had described Svartholm as “a political prisoner” in a tweet.
A Swedish court today upheld an arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. He is wanted in Sweden for questioning on allegations of sexual misconduct, though no charges have been filed.
For a detailed account of today’s court hearing visit Rick Falkvinge’s live blog.
Earlier this month, Democracy Now! traveled to London to interview Assange inside the Ecuadorean embassy. He has been holed up there for more than two years, having received political asylum.
In addition to the probe in Sweden, a secret grand jury in the United States is investigating WikiLeaks for its role in publishing a trove of leaked documents about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as classified State Department cables.
“My lawyers are confident that either in the lower court, and more likely the appeal court, we will be able to dismiss the case, because the law is reasonably clear,” Assange told Democracy Now!
“You’re meant to proceed with—the Swedish government has an obligation under its own law to proceed with maximum speed, with minimum cost, and also with bringing the minimum suspicion on the person who’s being investigated. And it is in clear violation of all those points of law.”