Ok so this is the whole proof of life topic. So... it's pretty, it's very - we saw that evolve, and it's both gratifying and a bit alarming, and I'll explain why. So, personally, and the rest of the team at Wikileaks were very pleased that there was such an expression of concern about how we were doing. We expected all of these attacks and if you looked at my public statements and some of the statements tweeted by Wikileaks in the lead up to my Internet being cut off and that difficult diplomatic situation, we were saying, you know, the attacks were going to come in. We're going to need people to defend us, we're basically going to need an army to get through this.
And then the concern for how I was doing and why I wasn't being seen etc arose, and so the answer to this proof of life question is that we are interested in something quite different. So anything that we did that claimed to be some kind of proof of life would be to set the precedent on what a reduction, what mechanism could be used to reduce concern.
So the calls for example that I issue a PGP signed message - ok, well it's fine if you can understand that it's me that is issuing the PGP signed message. But a PGP signed message doesn't tell you who has issued it at all. It's just a claimed message. So let's look at what kind of precedent we would be setting. We'd be setting a precedent that when there's a concern about whether one of our staff has been kidnapped, or me, that concern can be alleviated simply with a issuing of a message of text, which is coupled to a particular cryptographic key. Now, if Wikileaks is under serious threat, then it's quite possible that it might lose control over it's keys. And the reality is it's quite hard to protect keys from that kind of interference.
The way Wikileaks manages its keys is to - it's submission keys for example - they are not used to sign messages. But even if they did sign a message in this case, would would it be saying? It would be setting a precedent that could be very dangerous in the future. You don't have to produce the person and show that they're not under duress - you can either hack a Wikileaks key, or take control of infrastructure, or take control of a person and then have them, or rather claim that they had produced some signed message. So, we're much more interested in a situation, in creating a precedent for proof of life, in creating a precedent for proof of freedom from duress, or making it hard for our people to be under duress.
And the best way to do that is live video. Because even if you were under duress - and there are various forms of duress that could be applied - if it's live, you've got a few seconds to put things out, you can slip in code words with what you're saying - I'm not buy the way, I'm not - you can slip in code words in what you're saying that people, your people, could then see.
So.... yes, I'm alive, and free from duress, but I am in a very difficult situation. I have been for 6 years. Lets not think that I'm not in a difficult situation. As I've explained, this embassy is surrounded by high-tech police operation, intelligence operation - it's a really difficult situation. I haven't seen the sunlight in four and a half years. It's a tough situation. I am tough, but, you know, you should be concerned about the situation.
And what we had hoped is that those people concerned with my safety would direct their attention to those people who are responsible for this situation - that's the UK Government, the US Government, and the Ecuadorian Government. Now, some of you did. And that's quite possibly why the Internet was put back on - because of that expression of concern.
But, when the concern became very prominent, the result was a black PR campaign trying to infest the concern and take it off somewhere else. And largely succeeded. That was very interesting to watch and play out.
What happened... Fabricated messages claiming to be from our staff were posted on 4chan, reddit, etc. On videos claiming to be from Anonymous. Completely fabricated. Dozens of them. And what was their intent? What were they calling for? They were calling for people to not trust Wikileaks. To not give it leaks, and to not give it funds. I mean, it's obvious who benefits from the production of such a black PR campaign. And it should be obvious in hindsight to all those people who are trying to support me that those type of messages were deliberately intended to undermine Wikileaks, and in fact to undermine my support.
So if this sort of thing happens in the future, think to yourselves: is what is claimed undermining the ability for Wikileaks to operate, the ability for it to get new information, and the ability of it to financially support itself? And if the answer is yes, then you should be extremely skeptical about what the claim is.
But, we are... having seen how concern for us can be manipulated and misled, but also the degree of concern, we now have a game plan if this kind of thing happens again. And we're pleasantly confident about the kind of worldwide support we can get if we get a similar type of attack again in the future. And once again, you can see that I'm speaking, and maybe apparently sane, but don't reduce your concern. I am in a difficult situation, that's the reality. But the difficulty of the situation is well expressed on justiceforassange.com, the UN findings, etc. Wikileaks itself is also, it's staff, is also in a difficult situation; constantly spied upon, harassed, etc. So yeah...
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There's some people saying I should... because of the advances in technology in relation to video editing and audio etc, that I should try and do something that... establishes what I'm saying I'm saying now as opposed to.. these questions were planted and said from some time ago. We'll, it's a, I have to say it is a little bit silly. Not in relation to us being under pressure. We have been under a lot of pressure, but we're very good at resisting pressure. But in relation to whether I'm alive or kidnapped, actually it is a bit silly.
So if you look at people at like John Pilger for example, long term friend of mine, runs my defence fund. Is a famously brave investigative reporter. My lawyers, close friends, people like Laurie Love, the Ecuadorian Government - if you think about the number of people who would have to conspire and the amount of work that would have to be done to produce these false images, there's too many. That's a social proof, and to understand that, one needs to look at the costs and understand the costs involved in trying to pull together all those people and trying to keep a lid on them, and engage in all these kinds of fabrication technology which does not yet exist in a capacity... as far as anyone can tell in a capacity to do what it's done. To do all that, that's the cost, and then to what benefit? That's an interesting question.
So in thinking about real-time proof of life. Well, intellectually the most interesting one is to take the most recent block in the blockchain, the Bitcoin blockchain, give the number and at least 8 digits or something of the hash. And then maybe to throw out this hash by sign language. That's kind of intellectually entertaining. But, what is the problem with it? (Well, let's see if I can get a recent hash...). While it's intellectually entertaining, the problem with it is this: it's very complicated, the underlying technology. And so it has the same flaw that sophisticated voting machines have - cryptographic voting machines. Which is the average person can't understand whether the security claims are in fact borne out. Now, experts might be able to - but the average person can't. So now you're back to a social proof. Does the average person trust the expert? And so how do they know that those experts are really experts and haven't been compromised?
So in fact while it's intellectually entertaining, it's not at all a good type of proof of currency to argue upon anyway. So this is block 445706, and the hash is 178374f687728789caa92ecb49.
Ok, I think I made a mistake in the block number. It's just going to drive everyone crazy. So the block number 447506 - see this is how you can tell it's real time is the mistakes. Hash: 178374f687728789caa92ecb49. Ok - intellectually entertaining. You don't have to read out the whole hash number, maybe 8 digits or something combined with the block number would be enough to show currency within a 10-minute, hour period, something like that.
But actually, the better way to show currency is news that can be widely checked, is widely spread, and is unpredictable before it happens. The best would be a few different natural disasters, maybe a lot of weather measurements. And
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