Wikileaks is making headlines as it strikes again. This time Assange’s organization has targeted a private intelligence think tank, sharing emails from the company’s database after it was opened up by hackers. Already speculation has begun about what these emails could be about and why Wikileaks is choosing now to choose to share them. Is this the start of a major revelation from the recently uncharacteristically silent Assange?
The emails, passed between employees of an intelligence company by the name of Stratfor (Strategic Forecasting, Inc) based in Austin, Texas, were allegedly taken by Anonymous hackers, who announced they would be sharing the content of the messages in an effort to shed some light on the truth behind Strategic Forecasting.
What will the emails contain? Previously Assange reiterated that Wikileaks is an organization dedicated to bringing the truth to light and helping to stifle conspiracy and corruption. Both fans and critics of the organization can agree that Wikileaks has gained quite a reputation for itself. Whether you agree with it or not, Julian Assange has become a household name. And he has likened Stratfor to a private intelligence Enron.
In 2010, Wikileaks made the move it would become best known for, releasing diplomatic cables to the public – alleged to have been leaked from a secret military source. After the information was spread around the world by the media, Wikileaks once again fell silent. And now with the diplomatic cables still being processed by the public mind, the next batch of information has turned its attention from government intelligence toward corporate intelligence.
The company was started in 1996, and in its early days provided information regarding the 1999 Kosovo Air Strikes, lending it a leg up from Time Magazine into the public eye. After this, the company began providing a subscription service to provide information to its subscribers. In 2001, during and after the 9/11 attacks, Stratfor began publishing assessments predicting what the Bush administration and al-Qaeda’s next moves may be. Worldwide, Stratfor has become a source cited by dozens of media organizations including names such as the BBC, Bloomberg, and Reuters.
The hacking incident, during which the company’s security became compromised occurred on December 24, 2011. Stratfor’s website went down, and a claim went viral that nearly 200 gigabytes of data had been taken.
Stratfor has responded to the leak, calling the act “deplorable.” Additionally, the website has responded with a video of CEO George Friedman stating that they will be implementing a “no-link policy” for the time being on emails outgoing to Stratfor subscribers in the name of security.
As time goes on, it is clear that the controversy over Wikileaks is here to stay. Whether you support the ideologies of transparency promoted by the organization or not, it is worth taking a second look at predictions made in the early days of networking by futurists suggesting security would be one of the top concerns of companies and government agencies worldwide. And as we take the next step forward into the future, what will it hold for Wikileaks, Internet security, and Stratfor?