julian assange head on anonymous bodyThe past few days have been busy ones in the continuing online battle over Wikileaks. As usual, Wikileaks top man Julian Assange is at the center of the controversy. He's been granted bail by a British court that was considering extraditing him to Sweden over sexual assault charges in that country. According to The Guardian, the court said that "We doubt whether this actual category of rape would be rape under English law."

The conditions of Assange's bail include a surety of £240,000 (that's about $379,000 in the US), an electronic tag, a 10pm curfew, and a requirement to report to the police station every day at 6 p.m. These conditions keep Assange from appearing on nightly TV shows, according to Paul Mason from the British news program Newsnight. Assange has also surrendered his passport, which means he's probably not going on the run again any time soon.

UPDATE: Assange has not yet been released, due to an appeal by Swedish authorities who don't believe anything short of jail will keep him from fleeing.

Yesterday, one of Assange's attorneys told Al-Jazeera that the United States had convened a secret grand jury in Virginia to consider criminal charges against Assange. This confirms what U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said last week about authorizing "significant" actions against Wikileaks.Meanwhile, Assange's supporters in Anonymous are battening down the hatches for a raid by international law enforcement. A poster originating on 711chan -- one of the 4chan-esque image boards frequented by some members of Anon -- warned anyone who was in Anonymous Operations IRC channels or downloaded and used the DDoS attack software LOIC that law enforcement has potentially logged their IP addresses. The poster, which has now made its way to more mainstream sites like Reddit, advises dumping hard drives, especially any IRC logs.


Anonymous recently switched from DDoS attacks on Mastercard and Visa -- aka "Operation Payback" -- to spreading the contents of the Wikileaks cables around the internet -- aka "Operation Leakspin." This may have been the reason why. Leakspin is quite a bit safer, and certainly less illegal. A report from the Epoch Times explains why the people behind Operation Payback are easily traceable.

Of course, if you send out a press release on behalf of Anon and leave the identifying metadata in the PDF file, there's not much you can do to hide from the police. Someone named Alex Tapanaris made that facepalm-worthy mistake, and now his website is down and rumors of his arrest are spreading.

Here's a screenshot of Tapanaris' name on the document, visible to anyone who clicked "Get Info" on a Mac:



Meanwhile, Hacker magazine 2600 has condemned both sides of the infowar, calling Anonymous' DDoS attack immature and ineffective, but also arguing that Mastercard, Visa and PayPal are in the wrong. The companies launched their own kind of Denial of Service attack on Wikileaks, says 2600, by denying Julian Assange and Co. any financial services.