DIFFERENT people will have seen different things when Julian Assange was dragged out of the Ecuadoran embassy in London. Some will have seen a campaigning journalist being violently removed from his safehouse for speaking the truth; others will have seen a long-overdue comeuppance for a narcissist whose recklessness put innocent lives at risk. That is the problem with Mr Assange: he is a complicated figure at the centre of an even more complicated moral and ethical web.

Perhaps there is one thing that most of us can agree on though: Mr Assange was a bad house guest. After claiming asylum in the embassy in 2012, the founder of Wikileaks abused the generosity of his South American hosts and eventually ¬- inevitably maybe - they had enough. He now faces the possibility of extradition to the US over his alleged role in the leaking of government secrets in 2010; he may also face a renewed investigation into a claim of rape in Sweden.

The response of Mr Assange and his supporters has always been that he is a campaigning journalist who leaked sensitive information for the greater good of exposing government abuse and corruption and there is no doubt he has shone a light on some activities by the US government that deserved to be exposed.

However, Mr Assange is not a journalist. Much of the information Wikileaks acquired was newsworthy, but rather than check it was accurate and – just as importantly ¬- that it was responsible and safe to put in in the public domain, Mr Assange preferred to publish everything. If doing so endangered the lives of informants and soldiers in Afghanistan, it was not the act of a responsible journalist, it was the act of an irresponsible activist.

Mr Assange’s behaviour in other areas also makes it hard to see him as a hero. The material published by Wikileaks was undeniably important and some of it has revealed the duplicity of some Western governments, but Mr Assange is not the promoter of total transparency his supporters say he is – his preferred target from the start was the United States and at the last election Hillary Clinton in particular. It was Mr Assange who released her private emails, thereby attracting the love of Donald Trump – “I love Wikileaks!” he said. Which leaves Mr Assange – a supposed anti-establishment hero - as the man who facilitated an authoritarian right-wing presidency.

None of this means Mr Assange deserves to be treated in an undignified way – quite the opposite. You can also dislike the man and be concerned about the consequences of his case for civil liberties. However, the accusations against Mr Assange – and the question of whether he can be extradited to the US - should have been tested in court a long time ago and now at last they will be. Mr Assange will also, finally after nearly seven years in a small embassy in London, be forced to take personal responsibility for his actions. Surely even some of his supporters will realise that is a good thing.

ANYONE who has children – or anyone who has been on the internet for more than five minutes for that matter – will know about its downsides: harsh, abusive language, fake news, bullying and trolling, extreme pornography and so on. And yet the message always seems to be the same: the internet is a rule-free zone; nothing can be done.

Except that now the UK Government is attempting to act. A new code of conduct has been proposed for tech companies which would aim to reduce online harms; a watchdog would also be created to police and enforce the code.

In theory, it sounds good but there are lots of questions about the idea that not even Google can answer. Will the new organisation be big enough to cope with the sheer scale of the internet? Will it be given the powers it needs to enforce the code of conduct against the big operators with power and clout? And will proper consideration be given to the consequences at the other end of the scale on small and emerging businesses?

Reducing the harm that the internet can do is a worthy aim but the new rules will have to strike a balance between protecting us from harm and continuing to encourage a thriving, innovative - and occasionally troubling - sector.