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Assange Spurts Protests Online Through His Little Package

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Swiss artists give WikiLeaks founder Assange a chance to voice opinions on current affairs

Julian Assange has been sent a package from a group of artists known as !Mediengruppe Bitnik, which includes a camera to let the WikiLeaks founder share some of his feelings.

Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since June, having been granted asylum in the South American country, but denied the chance to leave by British police. If he does exit the embassy, he faces arrest and deportation to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning on claims of sexual assault.

Julian Assange, SwartzAssange art

Zurich-based !Mediengruppe Bitnik sent in its “live mail art piece”, saying it was “intended as REAL_WORLD_PING, a SYSTEM_TEST inserted into a highly tense diplomatic crisis”. A camera planted inside the package took photos as it passed through Royal Mail post offices before it arrived at the embassy. A location tracker meant they knew where the parcel was too.

People can get regular updates of the package-cam from the collective’s website.

Once the package made its way to Assange himself, he used it to voice a number of opinions, calling for “justice for Aaron Swartz”, the Internet activist who committed suicide last week.

He also called for Bradley Manning, the US military intelligence analyst currently facing trial in the US over charges concerning the data he passed on to WikiLeaks, to be freed.

“Transparency for the state, privacy for the rest of us,” read another message. “Keep fighting,” read another.

In August last year, Assange called on the US to end the “witch hunt” against whistleblowers, during a press conference from the balcony of his current dwelling.

It remains unclear what will happen to Assange, or how long he will remain cooped up in the embassy. One of his messages  promised victory in 2013, but did not specify how or in what area that would be achieved.

Speaking of online activists – try our Anonymous quiz!