The Swedish government is looking to bring Assange in to answer questions over sex offences, but he has been seeking asylum from extradition in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since June 19. Ecuador has granted Assange protection, but he will of course be arrested by British police if he sets foot outside the embassy.
This state of affairs has prompted a worldwide “free Julian Assange” movement in the hacking community, many members of which look to Assange as a mentor and consider the extradition merely a step towards having him returned to the United States to face charges against WikiLeaks for publishing thousands of secret U.S. government documents. Both Washington and Swedish officials have denied such a plan.
Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague on Monday urged Ecuador to resume negotiations with Sweden "as early as possible." ''Our two countries should be able to find a diplomatic solution," Hague wrote in a statement.
Last week, several hacktivist efforts in the UK by the Assange-supporting hacking collective known as Anonymous made headlines, including one report that the Hertfordshire Police website had been hacked, with the group then posting login details, passwords, phone numbers and IP addresses of officers online.
Anonymous dubbed the attack campaign as #OpFreeAssange on its Twitter feeds. In the wake of the Swedish attacks an unidentified group also took credit on Twitter for the action, calling for “hands off Assange.”
That was just one of many waves of hacktivism however. Anonymous has been conducting attacks for weeks.
“We ask you to let Julian Assange free,” it said in August, “to safely aid him in his travel to Ecuador to his new life away from this corrupt and cruel country. Anonymous UK will continue to be the thorn in your side if you do not... Do the right thing. Free Julian Assange. We are Anonymous... Expect us.”
So far it has targeted several websites through DDoS attacks, including the U.S. Department of Justice, the UK prime minister’s website and the UK Department for Work and Pensions.