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WikiLeaks claims on Twitter that it was blocked

Wikileaks was apparently 'blocked' on Friday afternoon according to the whistleblowing website's Twitter account, after the site released 287 files exposing what it claims to be widespread surveillance of civilians.

Website founder Julian Assange held a press conference at City University, London on Thursday where he announced that the files were available to download, but at around 14:20 GMT on Friday the Wikileaks site crashed.

The website said on Twitter: " is blocked following #SpyFiles release. We are investigating cause, but it isn't a capacity issue."

Not being a capacity issue rules out that the site has crashed due to high levels of traffic, and suggests that something else is to blame; it is not yet clear if the outage is due to an attack or not.

On Thursday December 1, Julian Assange addressed the media and some university students, saying that smartphones such as the iPhone and BlackBerry devices are not safe and that anyone using them is "screwed".

"It may sound like something out of Hollywood, but as of today, mass interception systems, built by Western intelligence contractors, including for 'political opponents' are a reality," Wikileaks says on its website," Wikileaks said in a statement on Thursday.

Assange said the perceived problem of governments bugging and tracking people is nothing new. "9/11 has provided license for European countries, for the U.S., Canada, Australia, South America and others to develop spying systems that affect all of us."

Asked if the public can resume submitting information to Wikileaks, Assange said: "At the moment we take things in a number of ways, but there is not a walk-in obvious process for the public [to submit]. Basic internet security has been severely compromised and we have had to re-engineer the basic security structure of the internet."

Assange believes that this global problem of surveillance needs to be fought: "We will win this war not only by legislation but we have to provide counter-surveillance tech that is open and easy for everyone to use to stop this global, totalitarian surveillance state."

The whistleblowing site says: "Intelligence companies such as VASTech secretly sell equipment to permanently record the phone calls of entire nations. Others record the location of every mobile phone in a city, down to 50 meters. Systems to infect every Facebook user, or smartphone owner of an entire population group are on the intelligence market."