Julian Assange’s investors are in the process of purchasing a boat to move WikiLeaks’ servers offshore in an attempt to evade prosecution from U.S. law enforcement, Fox News reported, citing sources.
Multiple sources within the hacker community with knowledge of day-to-day WikiLeaks activities say Assange’s financial backers have been working behind the scenes on the logistics of moving the servers to international waters.
“Then they can keep running WikiLeaks and nobody can touch them,” one source told Fox News. “If you get a certain distance away from any land, then you’re dealing with maritime law … They can’t prosecute him under maritime law. He’s safe. He’s not an idiot, he’s actually very smart.”
One possible location: the Principality of Sealand, a rusty, World War II-era, former anti-aircraft platform off the coast of England in the North Sea. Based on a 1968 British court ruling that the facility is outside the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom, Sealand’s owner has declared the facility a sovereign state, or “micro-nation.”
No nation has recognized Sealand’s independence, but that hasn’t stopped its self-appointed “prince” – Sealand claims to be a constitutional monarchy – from marketing the platform as a haven and supporter of Internet freedom.
But others dismissed the idea that simply moving servers would allow WikiLeaks to escape prosecution.
Jim Dempsey, vice president for public policy with the Washington, D.C., think tank Center for Democracy and Technology, said moving WikiLeaks’ servers to Sealand wouldn’t matter — unless the people behind WikiLeaks moved themselves.
Another WikiLeaks source said attempts had been made to place servers on old military barges in the ocean, in international waters. The source would not say whether those attempts had been successful, citing concerns for compromising the success of WikiLeaks and its future plans to move offshore.
WikiLeaks’ servers are now based in Sweden and Iceland, among other locations.