Julian Assange on Tuesday amped up his assault against Google’s “revolving door” with the U.S. government and big data gathering practices, which the WikiLeaks founder described as “a push towards a technocratic imperialism or digital colonialism.”
“While it can sound a bit strange to use these terms, that’s very clear from Google’s book about its vision for the future of the digital age, where Google envisages pulling in everyone, even in the deepest parts of Africa, into its system of interaction,” Assange told The Huffington Post in a Tuesday report.
The WikiLeaks founder said massive data collection by companies like Google and Facebook concentrate global power around such companies and government entities with an “alliance of interests,” which in Google’s case includes the National Security Agency and its contractors — what Assange called “the deep state.”
“At a less geopolitical level and at a more personal level, the global erosion of privacy for the average person brings democratic states socially into a position of where they are more like authoritarian states,” Assange said. “That’s the big problem for the average person.”
Last week while promoting his new book “When Google Met WikiLeaks” — which purports to show Google’s “revolving door” connection to the U.S. government — Assange likened Google to a “privatized NSA” because of products like its Android mobile platform, which he said is “constantly sending your location…streaming back your contacts, emails and everything you search for.” (RELATED: WikiLeaks Founder Dubs Google The ‘Privatized NSA’)
In the book, Assange recalls his 2011 meeting with Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, who Assange said acts as Google’s “secretary of state.” Schmidt responded to Assange’s book last week by calling the WikiLeaks founder “paranoid.”
“He’s of course writing from the, shall we say, luxury lodgings of the local embassy in London,” Schmidt said on ABC last week, referring to the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where Assange has been holed up since June 2012 while claiming asylum from charges of sexual assault in Sweden.
“I think it’s sad he that feels it’s necessary to resort to ad hominem attacks, but I understand that he has no real arguments to defend Google’s position,” Assange said in the Tuesday report.
Last week Schmidt dismissed the claims that Google assisted NSA in its bulk warrantless surveillance, instead claiming that the company “fought very hard against” NSA, and that it’s working to encrypt all user data.
“It’s a duplicitous statement. It’s a lawyerly statement,” Assange said. “Eric Schmidt did not say that Google encrypts everything so that the US government can’t get at them. He said quite deliberately that Google has started to encrypt exchanges of information — and that’s hardly true, but it has increased amount of encrypted exchanges.”
Assange pointed out Google is not encrypting its storage of users’ information — the basis of the company’s business model. (RELATED: Google Android’s ‘Active Watching’ Patent Will Try To Photograph, Record, Identify Everyone In A Room)
“And if Google can access it, then of course the U.S. government has the legal right to access it, and that’s what’s been going on,” Assange said. “As long as Google is operating its current business model and runs out of the U.S. jurisdiction, it cannot protect people from the National Security Agency or the FBI, or other arms of the U.S. government.”