Underground: The Julian Assange Story

Synopsis: Julian Assange is one of the most significant figures of the twenty first century. But before he was famous, before WikiLeaks, before the internet even existed, he was a teenage computer hacker in Melbourne. This is his story. In 1989, known as 'Mendax', Assange and two friends formed a group called the 'International Subversives'. Using early home computers and defining themselves as 'white hat hackers' - those who look but don't steal - they broke into some of the world's most powerful and secretive organisations. They were young, brilliant, and in the eyes of the US Government, a major threat to national security. At the urging of the FBI, the Australian Federal Police set up a special taskforce to catch them. But at a time when most Australian police had never seen a computer, let alone used one, they had to figure out just where to begin. Police ingenuity and old-fashioned detective work are pitted against nimble, highly skilled young men in this new crime frontier. What follows,
Genre: Biography, Drama
Director(s): Robert Connolly
  1 win & 5 nominations.
94 min

Come here , I want to show you something .

Who is she ?

She's their mother .

Isn't she beautiful ?

And now you can call her mum as well.

You know how I am not your dad ,

but we are a family .

All these guys are our family too.

You, your brother ... we are all gonna go and live there.

That is the very first thing .

Come Julian , back to bed.

I will not quibble .

Do not take my boy ...

Adam is my son, okay?

You will not take my boy .

This is weird . It frightens me .

It is a very enlightened soul .

You have no idea ...

Its not a family , it is a cult , Wayne .

- It's not a cult , it's a family .

Good boy .


Kristin ! Are you fuckin kidding me ?


The Julian Assange Story.

Emerald Victoria

May , 1989


Wow, this is great. This is perfect.

You can't see it from the road.

I'll go look for the key .

Listen! If we get separated,

We meet downstream. Ok!!

They may all look innocent enough

in the advertisements

but it seems that computers such as these

have been used for much more than Homework.

Two Melbourne teenagers , Simon

Snel and Mark Kaliver ,

both of Grinvud

were arrested today

charged with the theft of more than 5,000

credit card numbers from the

banks in The United States

connecting through a standard

telephone line

Johnson and Snel were able

to access the Bank's computers

on the other side of the Globe.

It appears that, they then made cash transfers,

and credit card purchases.

A Banking spokesman claimed, its the

first breach of this kind ...

Friends of yours?

- ... security systems have now been implemented , .

making any outside access to banking records

Virtually Impossible.

Local calls only.

Have you seen the news ?

- I think they were caught by the CIA or FBI some shit.

Ah!! that was sloppy.

They deserved it .

I'll probably go to jail you know.

- I bet I could hack into that bank.

Well, Its a race then .

If i win i want your signed Asimov's First Edition "Foundation"

If I win i want your Bible.

Okay. You're on!!




Australian Federal Police

Operation "Weather"

The U.S Embassy has been on the phone with Canberra

The minister has been onto us..

Guess its been one of their biggest banks.

Welcome to paradise .

They got through as easy as walking the turnstone.

They dialed up through a computer,

had a look around and hung up.

What'd they steal??

- Well it wasn't anything... nothing.

I mean,technically,they had not committed any offense.

Someone breaks into your house, just to look around, thats still Breaking and Entering.

- Tell that to the judge (laughs).

And unfortunately thats all

we have got on computer crime.

Are Any of these Jokers got a computer??

No they don't.

Well, can you get me someone who has got one??

You are following me!!

- I was here first.

Technically, you are following me .

Well that could just be a sneaky trick.

- Oh yeah?? and how does that work?

If i was going to do it to someone

I'd normally go and wait where they'd go first

and then accuse them

of stalking me.

Like you just did.

- You'd make a good stalker.

What'd you do over there?


Maybe I'll hang out with you.

How does that sound ?

Fitzroy Computer Market

June, 1989


- Hey.

I've got black smoke coming out

of my computer.


I took a quick look inside.

but, One of the chips is melted .

Its probably your processor. Check with Kevin.

You can get a new CPU. It should be fine.

Thank you.

Have you ever seen the inside of a public pay phone?


- Work of Art.

Are we good?

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Suelette Dreyfus

Dr. Suelette Dreyfus is a technology researcher, journalist, and writer. Her fields of research include information systems, digital security and privacy, the impact of technology on whistleblowing, health informatics and e-Education. Her work examines digital whistleblowing as a form of freedom of expression and the right of dissent from corruption. She is a researcher and lecturer in the Department of Computing and Information Systems at the University of Melbourne, as well as the Principal Researcher on an international research project on the impact of digital technologies on whistleblowing. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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