Julian Assange, Chief Editor and Founder of WikiLeaks
08 Jul 2010
I WORRY ABOUT THE SAFETY of Julian Assange, founder of the WikiLeaks website — a website which is probably the most important current tool for the protection of freedom of speech and modern democracy. I worry that due to his high profile and sole representation of WikiLeaks, his name has become synonymous with WikiLeaks, so that whilst WikiLeaks can find protection in its technological and geographical setup, Assange cannot. And as Assange releases more information that exposes the misdeeds of governments and commercial organisations, he becomes ever a greater target for apprehension and maybe even elimination by those organisations.
The whole point of the internet is that it is resilient precisely because of its non-hierarchical dispersed network structure. In other words, there is no single central node that can be knocked out that would bring the whole internet crashing down (DNS servers are the closest you can get to that, but there are still a number of them.)
But WikiLeaks is not resilient because it is represented by a single node — Julian Assange. Take out Assange, and in many people's eyes you have taken out WikiLeaks.
It is time for Assange to take a back seat and for WikiLeaks to be represented by a number of different individuals so that taking out any one of them will have little effect on the perceived viability of the organisation itself. This way, anyone associated with it becomes expendable, and this offers the greatest protection from those that seek to destroy WikiLeaks.