July 31st, 2010

breaking bad

Julian Assange

This is like an SF thriller. Julian Assange, the Australian who edits Wikileaks and recently published evidence of Afghan war atrocities, may consider himself at danger of being killed or abducted by security services. He has published an encrypted file - a large file - entitled 'Insurance'. One assumes that in the event of his disappearance his friends have been told to release the password. Who knows what is in that file.

Some interesting background. In the 1990s Assange invented a kind of encryption called deniable encryption. This is encryption with two passwords: if you are captured and coerced to reveal the password (so-called rubber-hose cryptanalysis) you reveal a false one, which unlocks dummy content. The real content is still hidden. This may be why the Insurance file is so large. It may have layers of dummy content.

Another interesting rumour is that Assange was on the run as a child from an Australian cult called The Family or the White Brotherhood, which held children incommunicado, dyed their hair white, and dosed them with LSD. This group seems to have really existed. I don't think there's any indication he was caught by them though, just hiding from them.

It will be interesting to see what happens next.