ITDC INDIA EPRESS/ ITDC NEWS In a tweet from June of 2016, WikiLeaks called on supporters to “Protect our coming publications” before attaching a link to “WIKILEAKS INSURANCE 2016-06-03 (88 Gb encrypted)”. The resulting file was protected in such a way that it requires two keys to unlock – one that downloaders receive by default, and another that WikiLeaks keeps to themselves.
The idea was that if anything were to happen to WikiLeaks, the second key would be leaked. This protection even extends to Assange himself, as the founder The contents of the document could be anything – but they are most likely controversial. The files have been described as a “deadman’s switch”, or more commonly, as an insurance policy.
The files were leaked in June, shortly before Assange announced plans to release files from Hillary Clinton’s email server. Given the timing, and the fact that WikiLeaks frequently shared encrypted files between staffers in a security bid, it has been speculated that the insurance may have to do with Hillary. However, given that such files had already been leaked as part of a coordinated information campaign by Russian hackers, they may not have anything to offer the current geopolitical climate.
Ecuador’s foreign minister, Jose Valencia, told press outlets that Assange had installed “panic buttons” on his phone, threatening dire consequences if he considered his life at risk. According to Business Insider, government officials ensured that his arrest was carried out in such a way that he would not have been able to press these buttons.
The breakdown of relations between Assange and Ecuador began in 2018 when the former sued the latter for violating his “fundamental rights”. This took place after Ecuador circulated a memo clarifying “house rules” for Assange, which included him taking care of his cat and keeping his spaces clean. In the press conference delivered by Valencia and other Ecuadorian ministers, as reported by Reuters, it was alleged that Assange had put “feces on the walls” and demonstrated “improper hygienic conduct”.