The Ecuadorian embassy in London has lastly given Julian Assange the boot.
After seven years offering sanctuary to the co-creator of WikiLeaks, the infamous secret-leaking web site, the federal government of Ecuador—and its tortured embassy staffers—gave him up. They allowed British police to take away Assange, forcibly, on Thursday morning. Now, within the custody of the UK, the polarizing malcontent awaits his destiny.
There are two possible outcomes. Assange may face extradition to Sweden the place prosecutors might reopen an investigation into rape allegations made towards him. (Assange initially sought asylum within the embassy to keep away from a switch to Sweden, which he claimed would possibly ship him to the U.S.; there, he feared he is perhaps placed on trial for leaking state secrets and techniques.) Thence choice two: Assange is shipped to the USA to face justice.
With Assange’s destiny hanging within the stability, supporters and critics are at loggerheads. Assange’s proponents have painted him as a free speech hero. They’ve forged his persecution as an affront to the First Modification. They’ve even questioned whether or not his potential prosecution spells bother for journalism. Ben Wizner, a director on the American Civil Liberties Union, mentioned making an attempt Assange “could be unprecedented and unconstitutional and would open the door to felony investigations of different information organizations.”
Assange’s arrest has little to do with the First Modification. He has been charged with conspiracy to hack computer systems below the Pc Fraud and Abuse Act. That legislation, whereas definitely not excellent, is legislation, and Assange’s alleged actions, as described in an indictment, are in clear breach of that rule.
What separates Assange from a journalist or writer is restricted. Assange allegedly tried to crack a “hashed” password which protected a labeled Protection Division community. In keeping with the court docket submitting, Assange inspired his supply, Chelsea Manning, then an intelligence analyst with the U.S. Military, to steal labeled data, after which he actively participated in makes an attempt to hack deeper into U.S. methods. That’s not journalism; it’s, by legislation, criminality.
Whether or not one agrees with the CFAA or not, them’s the breaks. If extradited and located responsible, Assange had higher be ready to do the time. Given his years-long elective confinement within the Ecuadorian embassy, absolutely he has ready effectively.
A model of this text first appeared in Cyber Saturday, the weekend version of Fortune’s tech e-newsletter Information Sheet. Enroll right here.