Julian Assange

Julian Assange

He has been called "the Robin Hood of hacking." As the founder and public face of WikiLeaks, a website that posts secret documents and information in the public domain, Julian Assange (pronounced Ah-Sanj) believes that total transparency is for the good of all people. But Assange — who reportedly lives an itinerant existence, traveling the world with a backpack and computer — is himself a shadowy figure. Little is known about his life: he has refused to confirm his age in interviews or give a fixed address. But on July 26, the mathematically-trained Australian changed the media landscape — and possibly the course of history — by releasing about 90,000 classified U.S. military records from the war in Afghanistan. Fast Facts: • Assange was reportedly born in 1971 in the city of Townsville, northeastern Australia. He was mostly homeschooled as a child, thanks in large part to his already peripatetic existence: by the time he was 14, he and his mother had reportedly moved 37 times. • After his mother’s relationship with a musician turned violent, Assange lived on the run between the ages of 11 and 16. • When Assange turned 16, he began hacking computers, reportedly assuming the name Mendax — from the Latin splendide mendax, or “nobly untruthful.”