Who cut off Julian Assange’s internet access? Ecuador, accusing him of interfering in US election

But WikiLeaks’ founder is told he can continue to hide out at Ecuador’s London embassy.

David bisson
David Bisson

Who cut off Julian Assange internet's access? Ecuador, accusing him of interfering in US election

Ecuador has said it pulled the plug on Julian Assange’s web access out of concern that he was using WikiLeaks to influence the U.S. presidential election.

On 18 October, the government of Ecuador issued a statement in which it confirms it cut off Assange’s internet access the previous day.

In recent weeks, WikiLeaks has published a wealth of documents, impacting on the U.S. election campaign. This decision was taken exclusively by that organization.

The Government of Ecuador respects the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states. It does not interfere in external electoral processes, nor does it favor any particular candidate.

Accordingly, Ecuador has exercised its sovereign right to temporarily restrict access to some of its private communications network within its Embassy in the United Kingdom. This temporary restriction does not prevent the WikiLeaks organization from carrying out its journalistic activities.

The country attributes its decision to WikiLeaks’ publication of tens of thousands of hacked emails, the content of which it feels could affect the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.

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Despite Assange’s internet blackout, WikiLeaks published a fresh batch of emails on 18 October. Those emails are said to reveal how staffers working for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton regarded former Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders as a “doofus,” among other revelations.

It’s unclear which group or entity provided WikiLeaks with the hacked emails.

Aside from Donald Trump, most reports suggest that Russian hackers stole the emails after targeting the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

In its statement, the government of Ecuador sets forth its belief that all states are entitled to pursue their own internal affairs without the interference of people like Assange.

Ecuador also made a point of reaffirming its decision to grant Assange political asylum back in 2012.

Unimpressed by Ecuador’s actions, WikiLeaks published its own statement and accused the Ecuadorian government of having implemented the outage after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry allegedly told the nation’s president Rafael Correa to stop Assange.

US Government officials have denied this story.

I’m not going to debate the ethics of WikiLeaks’ actions, as that’s for another article.

I do commend Ecuador’s position, however. The United States – and all nations, for that matter – should be allowed to pursue their own affairs without the influence of outside actors.

That goes for Assange and the constant dripping of Wikileaks’ data dumps, as well as Russia and its persistent efforts to affect the election’s outcome.

David Bisson is an infosec news junkie and security journalist. He works as Contributing Editor for Graham Cluley Security News and Associate Editor for Tripwire's "The State of Security" blog.

7 comments on “Who cut off Julian Assange’s internet access? Ecuador, accusing him of interfering in US election”

  1. Phil Potts

    "The United States – and all nations, for that matter – should be allowed to pursue their own affairs without the influence of outside actors."

    Well,there's two ways of looking at that. There's your interpretation. And then there's the angle that an outside actor (Ecuador) is attempting to influence the affairs of the United States by suppressing the free flow of information so normal people can come to their own conclusions.

    Wasn't Julian Assange a hero to you people a week ago?

  2. Phil Potts

    But – apparently – there's no problem with an inside actor (mainstream media) attempting to influence the affairs of the United States.

    CNN cuts satellite feed as soon as WikiLeaks is mentioned by Congressman Collins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbA5RE9eK08

  3. Noah Laws

    So, essentially, your position is that the U.S. needs to cut itself off from the world. Including this blog, which would make me sad. As you are British by nationality if I'm not mistaken. So as not to directly or indirectly influence our own affairs with influence from outside actors. Let's start taking back DNS control from ICANN and let each country provide its own. We can go ahead and disable those trans-atlantic cables and google/fb can stop their plans for laying the trans-pacific one and we can all go back to being cut off from the rest of the world. No more imports or exports. Every country for itself. Except we don't live in that world any more. It's not as if WikiLeaks is releasing a browser or partnering with anyone where a significant number of people are exposed to it every single day without choice. This is absolutely a prime example of why Net Neutrality is important. The U.S., not any country of the world is isolated any more. What happens here affects other countries, and what happens in other countries affects here. To shut down one form of influence and leave all the others open is like closing the window on a half-built house because it's going to rain.

  4. cranstn rainston

    looks like Equador is now the USA's newest little "bitch boy"

  5. Jim

    Middle eastern companies dumping truckloads of cash at the Clinton Foundation's doorstep doesn't have a tech angle so it goes unmentioned? Please, at least be honest about it.

    To think Equador did this if their own accord is a real stretch. Nothing is beneath politicians. The truth only hurts those that have a vested interest in the situation. Debate all you want but I want all the facts, good and bad.

  6. Phil Potts

    It would only have taken the barest minimum of investigation to cast serious doubt on this story. But then, you would have had to be interested in the truth in the first place:


    “It was a bit of an eviction notice”, said a senior intelligence official.

  7. Brooke

    So how long until he has a 3G/4G mobile pre-paid hotspot delivered and is back in business? Seriously, is this doing anything to cut him off?

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