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Julian Assange

(Australian publisher, journalist, software developer and Internet activist)

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Biography Julian Assange
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Julian Paul Assange (born 3 July 1971) is an Australian publisher, journalist, software developer and Internet activist. He is the founder, spokesperson and editor in chief of WikiLeaks, a whistleblower website and conduit for worldwide news leaks, with the stated purpose of creating open governments. Assange has worked as a computer programmer and was a hacker during his youth. He has lived in several countries and has made public appearances in many parts of the world to speak about freedom of the press, censorship and investigative journalism.

Assange was born in Townsville, Queensland, and spent much of his youth living on Magnetic Island.

His biological father was John Shipton. When he was one year old his mother Christine married theatre director Brett Assange, who gave him his surname. Brett and Christine Assange ran a touring theatre company.

Assange moved 30 times before he turned 14, attending many schools, sometimes being home-schooled.

In 1987, after turning 16, Assange began hacking under the name "Mendax" (derived from a phrase of Horace: "splendide mendax", or "nobly untruthful").

In 1989, Assange started living with his girlfriend and they had a son, Daniel. They split up during the period of Assange's arrest and conviction. They subsequently engaged in a lengthy custody struggle and did not agree on a custody arrangement until 1999.
In 1993, Assange was involved in starting one of the first public internet service providers in Australia, Suburbia Public Access Network. Starting in 1994, he lived in Melbourne as a programmer and a developer of free software.

From 2003 to 2006, Assange pursued a bachelor of science degree from the University of Melbourne. He also studied philosophy and neuroscience. He never graduated and received the minimum passing grades in most of his math courses.

In addition to exercising great authority and editorial control within WikiLeaks, Assange acts as its public face.

Assange received the 2009 Media award from Amnesty International for Kenya: The Cry of Blood - Extra Judicial Killings and Disappearances, and he has been recognized as a journalist by the Centre for Investigative Journalism.

In 2010 Assange was awarded the Sam Adams Award, Readers' Choice in Time magazine's Person of the Year poll, and runner-up for Person of the Year. An informal poll of editors at Postmedia Network named him the top newsmaker for the year after six out of 10 felt Assange had "affected profoundly how information is seen and delivered".
Le Monde, one of the five publications to cooperate with Wikileaks' publication of the recent document leaks, named him person of the year with fifty six percent of the votes in their online poll.

In February 2011, it was announced that Assange had been awarded the Sydney Peace Medal by the Sydney Peace Foundation of the University of Sydney for his "exceptional courage and initiative in pursuit of human rights."

Though an Australian citizen, Assange has not had a permanent address for several years.
For much of 2010, he was visiting the United Kingdom, Iceland, Sweden and other European

On 6 December, the Swiss bank, PostFinance, announced that it had frozen assets of Assange's totalling 31,000 euros, because he had "provided false information regarding his place of residence" when opening the account. MasterCard, Visa Inc., and Bank of America also halted dealings with Wikileaks. Assange described these actions as "business McCarthyism".

He has been praised and condemned for his work with WikiLeaks. In the USA, there have been calls for him to be arrested or treated as a terrorist. He received a number of awards and nominations, including the 2009 Amnesty International Media Award for publishing material about extrajudicial killings in Kenya and Readers' Choice for Time magazine's 2010 Person of the Year.

Assange is wanted in Sweden for three allegations of sexual assault and one of rape. He denies the allegations and plans to appeal.

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