Australian-born WikiLeaks founder since 2006, Julian Paul Assange, became scandalously known to the whole world in 2010, when WikiLeaks published a series of leaks including the Collateral Murder video (April 2010), the Afghanistan war logs (July 2010), the Iraq war logs (October 2010), CableGate (November 2010) and much more. Nearly 750,000 classified, or unclassified but sensitive, military and diplomatic documents were disclosed to WikiLeaks by Chelsea Manning, an American activist, politician, and former United States Army soldier. Following the 2010 publication of US diplomatic and military secrets, the federal government of the United States launched a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks.

Assange was granted refuge at Ecuador’s embassy in 2012 while he was on bail in the UK over sexual assault allegations against him in Sweden. The Swedish criminal investigation was dropped in 2017, but the British arrest warrant for breaking his bail conditions remains active. On 27 July 2018, Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno revealed that he had begun talks with British authorities to withdraw the asylum for Assange who must ultimately leave the country’s London embassy, where he has lived for six years.  Assange has been cut from internet connection, computers and phones, although he still speaks to his lawyers.

After Julian Assange claimed asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012, and especially in the five months since Ecuador cut his internet and communication channels, effectively silencing him, Ms.Jennifer Robinson has become increasingly prominent as a voice for Assange and WikiLeaks, winning profound admiration for her passionate, composed, eloquent and rigorous advocacy of civil liberties. Her speech at the World Ethical Data Forum this September will explore many issues, including data and information privacy, individual rights, and her experiences representing Julian Assange and WikiLeaks in the unambiguously hostile climate of the mainstream media and the adversarial relation to several states (including notoriously the US) they find themselves in.

Julian Assange had managed to record the last video before his communication channels were cut off by the Ecuadorian embassy in March. An hour long, this never before seen video, covering subjects such as the conditions of his detainment, his reasons for beginning Wikileaks and his treatment at the hands of the press, the meaning and importance of cryptography, and the recent advances in AI hacking, cyber-warfare and surveillance technologies, is scheduled to be shown in Barcelona.

Talks and presentations on the forum will range over areas including mass data and data-analytic technologies, their use and safeguards, the importance of limits or lack of limits to access for security agencies and government, data rights, the commercial use of data by marketing, media organizations and big business, as well as recent innovations in artificial intelligence, the development of cryptocurrency and ICO regulation, and the benefits and pitfalls of blockchain technology and its future applications.

Currently, the positions that people and companies take on the spread of information ethics can be described as a spectrum or even ethical agnosticism. As regulatory frameworks are created for new technological advances and begin to evolve and take shape, so would the position of influencers, entrepreneurs, lawyers on what may or may not be the correct be determined by which to administer and administrate technologies. The question is, where do YOU stand?

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