This is a collaborative timeline of events related to Wikileaks, created by students of CMST-706 Technologies of Communication at McMaster University
Created by sgsinclair on Jan 13, 2011
Last updated: 01/14/11 at 07:21 AM
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The US government subpoenas Twitter demanding access to the accounts of all the users following Wikileaks, but not to let users know. Twitter notifies them anyways.
Daniel Domscheit-Berg, formerly of Wikileaks, announces OpenLeaks, a site that will not publish leaks but send them to third party sources. The announcement was made after Domscheit-Berg's criticism of WikiLeaks no longer being open (a wiki), and not being openly democratic.
Amazon dumps Wikileaks and refuses to host them, and MasterCard and PayPal block any donations or transactions involving Wikileaks. Wikileaks quickly returns with thousands of mirrored websites, resulting in even more support (including financial) than it previous had - described as the Streisand Effect.
US State Department diplomatic cables leak - "Cablegate". Information leaked ranges from extremely sensitive data involving secret talks (such as Germany pressuring America to blackmail the Israeli Prime Minister) to mundane information involving what diplomats think of each other (such as the US classifying Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Russian President Dimitri Medvedev as 'Batman and Robin').
Afghan War diary leaked to The Guardian, New York Times and Der Spiegel. The 91,000+ documents (of which only 71,000 have been revealed) reveal information on civilan deaths, increased attacks from the Taliban, and involvement from Pakistan and Iran in these attacks.
Iraq War logs, the biggest leak in American military history. The documents reveal more Iraqi deaths than previously thought, as well as numerous cases of alleged abuse (including torture, rape and murder) of Iraqi civilians by American soldiers, and that Iran had been training Iraqi soldiers for battle.
Wikileaks release of 570,000 pager messages sent across America on September 11, 2001.
Wikileaks.org is registered and claims to be founded by Chinese dissidents, journalists, mathematicians and start-up company technologists
A Swedish political party that started managing new Wikileak servers on August 12, 2010. It donates both the servers, and bandwidth to Wikileaks. The aim of the parties platform is to reform copyright and patent laws, strengthen individual privacy rights, and make government more transparent. WikiLeaks with mirror sites, which makes it virtually impossible to shut down the operation. The Swedish Pirate Party has been praised by some for ‘saving’ WikiLeaks.
Another case of government power abuse and international bribery which remained shrouded from the public eye for a few years, until anti-corruption laws took action against the UK-based arms development corporation. The US, UK, and Saudi Arabia are all parties in this scandal, the worst of which is soon to unfold as fines are being issued in the hundreds of millions of pounds. More government cover-up – more fuel for Wikileaks.
In an attempt to enhance privacy and confidentiality, RnySmile implements BitTorrent. Wikileaks later releases an 'insurance' file in Torrent form
Swedish Police confiscate several servers belonging to Bahnoff, looking to find copyrighted material. Bahnoff later hosts Wikileaks after they are removed from Amazon
A document leaked concerning a talk between George W Bush and the Bristish Prime Minister. It discussed the upcoming war and removal of Saddam Hussein and revealed that facts were being fixed around the policy already in place.
Journalist Shi Tao of China is arrested and eventually sentenced to 10 years in jail after he published an email from Chinese officials about the anniversary of the Tienanmen Square massacre. His arrest inspired the founders of WikiLeaks to create a site that would allow for the anonymous and safe uploading and publishing of sensitive/classified documents.
Swedish Internet provider is created. This provider is responsible for the infamous site The Pirate Bay, as it does not ask questions about content and is not responsible for any materials that are hosted. This includes a large number of pedophilia forums and other websites that remain questionable in their content. PRQ was responsible for hosting Wikileaks – not asking questions regarding the content being hosted. See Wikipedia.
On July 6, 2003, Joseph Wilson, a former U.S. diplomat writes a piece for The New York Times in which he questions President Bush’s reasons for invading Iraq. Wilson explained that during his mission to Niger, as a CIA envoy, he had failed to prove that Iraq had attempted to purchase enriched uranium yellowcake. Eight days later, Washington Post writer Robert Novak responded with a column that “outed” Wilson’s wife as an “agency operative.” Wilson responded by explaining that the White House leaked his wife’s undercover status as retribution for his criticism in his piece for the Post. See Wikipedia.
The United States alongside the United Kingdom invades Iraq to defeat Saddam Hussein. This would later lead to the development of “Collateral Murder”, a video demonstrating Iraqi civilians and journalists killed by US forces.
Assange studies physics at the University of Melbourne. He thought that trying to uncover the laws that governing the universe would provide the same stimulation and rush of hacking. While he did not feel the same stimulation, he did, however, come to understand “the defining human struggle not as left versus right, or faith versus reason, but as individual versus institution.”
Barbara Streisand's home is photographed by paparazzi, and her attempts to suppress the photos result in the photos being mass published and distributed among numerous media outlets. This effect is seen again in 2010 following the takedown of WikiLeaks.ch, and its resulting thousands of mirrors that were created in the following weeks.
Guantanamo Bay Detention camp is established for the Bush Administration to hold detainees from the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. This would later lead to the release of the “Standard Operating Procedures for Camp Delta” detailing the protocol of the U.S Army in Guantanamo Bay.
Open source software system that hides users information and protects their personal freedom. It is a system used by Wikileaks to keep information donors, and their submissions secret.
This free-application software is the same type that was used by Wikileaks in 2006, allowing for user adaptability and information. See MediaWiki.org.
The War on Terror beings with American troops invading Afghanistan. This would later lead to Wikileaks releasing the “Afghan War Diary”; a compilation of more than 76,900 documents about the war.
Infamous 9/11 attacks take place. The event later lead to the “War on Terror”.
Held near Berlin, Germany. Organized by the Chaos Computer Club, this meeting of hackers is held every four years and discusses technological, societal and political issues with speeches on freedom of information taking place. See Wikipedia.
An independent, non-profit organization that tracks government corruption worldwide while monitoring their openess and accountability.
Assange registers leaks.org but says he then did nothing with it
I think of peer-to-peer networks as allowing for the mass sharing of the elusive Wikileaks insurance file. Now, instead of a single hard-copy existing, there are more than 100,000 instances of the file already downloaded to computers around the world.
Internet search company Google is founded, and will become a popular method in which Internet users search for Wikileaks documents
Pointing out the flaws in technology and the freedom of information, CCC completes another successful hacking attempt.
A secure money transfer site, this was the technology used by Wikileaks to collect donations to help fund the site for the early part of its existence. They cut off their service to Wikileaks late in 2010 for violating their user agreement, but were fundamental in building it to what it is today.
This encryption alogorithm is the one on the above insurance file. This high-level security encryption allows for intensive security on the file, protecting the “dead man’s switch.” This sure beats a padlock and steel door. See Wikipedia.
The ACA regulates telecommunications as well as radio, broadcasting and has a role in “regulating Internet content standards”. See Wikipedia.
Proving to be a force to be taken seriously, the Computer Club shows off the weakness of Microsoft’s software and the impact that hackers can have on shaping the future of technology.
In the midst of a bitter custody battle, Assange and his mother create the activist group “Parent Inquiry Into Child Protection.” The group used the Austrailian Freedom of Information Act to obtain documents and keep them in a central database, for the purpose of aiding in child custody cases. People were allowed to submit their information in an anonymous manner, this early project shows similar characteristics to Assange’s later project WikiLeaks.
Ward Cunningham launches the world's first wiki and calls it wikiwikiweb. The website is named after a shuttle bus at Honolulu International Airport called the 'Wiki Wiki Shuttle'. The first wiki created. Building upon Vannevar Bush's vision of users being able to edit other users' texts, a wiki acts as an online repository of data that is created and maintained solely by its users.
Assange writes Strobe, the first free and open source port scanner
Assange pleads guilty to 24 charges of hacking but released on bond for good conducts after being fined AU$2100. The prosecutor said “there are just no evidence that there was anything other than sort of intelligent inquisitiveness and the pleasure of being able – what’s the expression—surf through these various computers”.
At the age of twenty, Assange hacks into the master terminal of Nortel, the Canadian telecom company, maintained in Melbourne. He did not do any damage; the hack was not motivated by ill-means, but more so to test his abilities
In 1991, this component is added to the Swedish Constitution. This act defines freedom of expression in all media except for written books and magazines (i.e. the internet). This particular component gives information providers (like Assange and WikiLeaks) total legal protection.
On Christmas day, Tim Berners-Lee implemented the first successful communication between an HTTP client and server via the Internet.
Protects government employees from prosecution when reporting agency misconduct to the government.
At the age of sixteen, Assange obtains a modem, and his computer was transformed into a portal. Web sites did not exist yet, but computer networks were sufficiently linked to form a hidden electronic landscape that the technical savvy, like Assange, could navigate. Assange called himself Mendax—from Horace’s splendide mendax, or “nobly untruthful”—and he established a reputation as a sophisticated programmer who could break into the most secure network
Held in Hamburg, Germany. This allowed hackers to come together and take workshops, talk about political issues and discuss technical issues. This Congress proves the importance and relevance of this community of individuals who believe in hacking and the freedom of truth. See Wikipedia.
This group of computer hackers has a lot of prominence as it arose in a time where access to information was much more difficult to accomplish. More importantly, the involvement of Daniel Domscheit-Berg makes this entry incredibly significant to the timeline for Wikileaks. See Wikipedia.
The FBI runs a sting operation to catch crooked politicians under the guidance of a con artist. The FBI portrayed themselves as a rich sheikh, managing to catch a lot of corrupt government officials who were exchanging money for political favours. See Wikipedia.
Moore’s Law has helped to make technology more available than ever before. This allows for those with lower incomes to share in the internet with powerful machines, proliferating content and current affairs awareness.
Text-mining allows for the viewing of many documents for akin words and phrases. This is an important aspect and milestone for Wikileaks as thousands of documents can be searched for similar clauses, from locations to people, helping to combine the documents into a more coherent mass making them more relevant for researchers and other interested parties.