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Privacy Lost

Apr 17, 2019

Ola Bini has been arrested by the Ecuadorian Police based on questionable links to Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Although he has been arrested, no charges against him have yet been filed.

Near to the time of Ola’s arrest the Ecuadorian police tweeted an obscured photo of a person in detention and that person’s personal belongings, including nearly 20 laptops, numerous drives, and 12 books.

The original tweet read:

APREHENDIDO ciudadano en #Quito, que mediante la utilización de plataformas digitales de redes sociales, transmitía contenido de connotación social (divulgación de información) a través de sitios web, entre los mas destacados #WikiLeaks. El sujeto utilizaba perfiles falsos.

A rough translation is as follows:

Citizen Apprehended in #Quito, who through the use of social networks, transmitted content of social connotation (dissemination of information) through websites, including most prominently WikiLeaks.

That tweet has since been deleted. It is not 100% certain if Ola is the “citizen” in question, but I find the images of the belongings particularly compelling.1 I had the good fortune of meeting and talking with Ola on numerous occasions and found him a deep thinker who was a true lover of knowledge and intellectually engaged with matters of computing thoughtfully and eloquently. Therefore, as a lover of knowledge myself I dug in on the image above to identify the books procured as so-called evidence.2

Update: Ola released an official statement. In this statement, Ola says something troubling, specifically, “the case against me is based on the books I’ve read and the technology I have.”

Below you’ll find the books confiscated by the Ecuadorian police (left to right, top to bottom):

I’ve always been a proponent in the idea that to know someone is to read what they read. Therefore, I’m digging into Ola’s books3 to learn a little more about him and the topics and problems that have grown in importance during troubling times.4


  1. While the obscured face does hint at Ola, the books are the give-away. 

  2. It’s unclear what these items might be evidence of, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better way to drum up FUD than to splay those items out in such a manner as the image above shows — a Guy Fawkes mask would have been a bit too much. 

  3. My awareness of most of these books originally came about by learning that Ola was reading them

  4. To wit, knowledge is power. 

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