WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is not a fan of social networking sites like Facebook. (Photo Credit: CC BY/Surian Soosay/Flickr)

Controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange recently told Russia Today that it’s only a matter of time before more damaging information becomes known about the U.S. government and other nations. During the interview, as Assange discussed the “hidden world” of which most people are unaware, he also leveled harsh criticism at Facebook, Google and Yahoo. Assange argued that such sites compromise online safety and play a role in an “appalling spy machine.”

Manipulative social media

While Twitter and Facebook have undoubtedly played a significant role in the spread of information surrounding various revolutions in the Middle East, Julian Assange finds Facebook in particular to be a heinous invention:

“Facebook in particular is the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented,” said Assange. “Here we have the world’s most comprehensive database about people, their relationships, their names, their addresses, their locations and the communications with each other, their relatives, all sitting within the United States, all accessible to U.S. intelligence.”

The intelligence back doors for Facebook, Google and Yahoo are built-in, argues Assange.While the notion that the innocent have nothing to hide may apply, perhaps U.S. founding father Benjamin Franklin’s words – that “He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither” – are chillingly apt. A subpoena isn’t even necessary to rifle through our personal lives – provided we’ve said “yes” to a largely legalese user agreement that nearly everyone ignores. At that point, we’ve already begun to make a database for U.S. intelligence to view at its discretion.

‘The U.S. is engaged in people laundering’

Assange had much to say to Russia Today about the timing of WikiLeaks’ release of Guantanamo data, particularly in light of Barack Obama’s current re-election bid.

“Completely innocent people are incarcerated for years with no trial and no hope of relief,” he said. “No country would agree to house them, including the United States. But the United States has made them its problem (by) keeping them outside of the law. … the U.S. is engaged in people laundering.”

Swedish extradition and the battle against ignorance

In addition to the ongoing threat of extradition to Sweden that Assange faces over allegations of “unlawful coercion, sexual molestation and rape,” he reiterated for Russia Today that his primary goal is to combat ignorance of what’s going on in the world, including the transgressions of companies like Facebook and the mainstream media that decide not to speak out.

“One of the hopeful things that I’ve discovered is that nearly every war that has started in the past 50 years has been a result of media lies,” he said. “If we have a good media environment, then we also have a peaceful environment.”

Sources

Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/mar/15/web-spying-machine-julian-assange
Huffington Post: http://huff.to/lcUE4p
New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/08/world/europe/08assange.html
Russia Today: http://rt.com/news/wikileaks-revelations-assange-interview/

US intelligence likes your Facebook, says Assange

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