WikiLeaks claims that a “state actor” has cut off Assange’s internet access, with the group’s Twitter account confirming on the morning of October 17 that Assange’s connection has been “intentionally severed” and contingency plans are being activated. It’s unclear what those contingency plans may be and Motherboard was unable to verify Wikileaks’ claim. The Ecuadorian Embassy also did not immediately provide Motherboard with any more information.
WikiLeaks’ tweet came after the organisation posted on Sunday night what were rumored to be the “dead man keys” to documents; encryption keys that would allow for the publication of leaked documents. Users on Twitter and Reddit suggested that these tweets indicated Assange had been killed, and that these documents should be revealed in the wake of his death.
But these rumors were shut down by WikiLeaks’ Kelly Kolisnik. “Julian Assange is alive and well,” Kolisnik tweeted. “Rumors circulating that he tweeted out a ‘Dead Mans’ switch are completely false and baseless.”
And as Gizmodo points out, these 64-character codes are likely for “pre-commitment,” a way to prove that when documents are released in the future, their content has not been tampered with.
The flurry of rumors surrounding the state of Assange come as WikiLeaks continues to release documents related to hacked emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign advisor, John Podesta. Assange, speaking earlier in October, said that he would aim to publish documents on a weekly basis in the run up to Election Day on November 8…’