Julian Assange, the founder of Wiki Leaks and still held at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London spoke via Skype to the 30,000 people yesterday who are attending the South By Southwest media and music conference held annually in Austin, Texas.
He was warmly greeted and the audience listened intently to every word of Assange as he defined the change in power over the last couple of years and what power now represents. He is as Star.com defines him ‘a rock star’ at this conference and the other rock star, Edward Snowden will speak tomorrow at 11 am CT from satellite, also.
Assange’s discussion interviewer was conducted by Benjamin Palmer of the New York digital creative agency the Barbarian Group. Assange spoke about the new power definition and that surveillance is global totalitarianism.
‘The ability to survey everyone on the planet is almost there, and arguably will be there in a few years,’ said Assange. ‘And that’s led to a huge transfer of power from the people who are surveyed upon to those who control the surveillance complex. It’s an interesting postmodern version of power.’
‘How is it that the Internet that everyone looked upon as perhaps the greatest tool of human creation that had ever been has, in fact, been co-opted and (is) now involved in the most aggressive form of state surveillance the world has ever seen?’
The Internet of Things providing connection to every facet of our lives is allowing surveillance seekers all the pertinent and non-pertinent details of someone’s life. Assange offers that due the NSA and other sources with means to intrude via surveillance of today’s technology that we as a civilian society have reached a ‘Stalin’ like world of totalitarianism.
Assange’s political ideas on totalitarianism in the form of the Internet providing technology to spy is a twenty first century Hannah Arendt, who wrote in her time of the totalitarianism of Stalin. The century has changed and the media to provide knowledge and control through surveillance has changed but the concept is the same and well thought out in Assange’s presentation of his view of this new world form.
He views the work of Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Wikileaks' Sarah Harrison, and Tor researcher Jacob Appelbaum as a positive in the space of the Internet which up until four years ago was blank. Now even the billions of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar make him subject to surveillance as he has begun the First Look Media news and commentary online digital magazine.
The key to fighting surveillance is knowledge through the release of information such as Assange’s release of military papers about the Iraq war in 2010. The disguise of government actions as ‘national security,’ must be revealed, Assange argued. The thinking behind WikiLeaks, which first ran afoul of the U.S. government in 2010 with the massive release of sensitive documents pertaining to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has always been that ‘the best way to achieve justice is to expose injustice.’
He views his ability to live within the Ecuadorian Embassy as a brave new world in which, ‘I am able to exist in a situation which is every national security reporter’s dream, which is a land without police,’ he said. ‘It is a no man's land, as far as coercion is concerned.’
When Palmer asked him about the future expose’s by WikiLeaks, Assange promised there would be much more material to come. He just wouldn’t say when. ‘Yes, there is important upcoming material,’ he said coyly’ “I don’t like to give time frames because it tends to give the opponents of that material more time to prepare their spin lines.’
To view more information about the topic of security issues, surveillance and privacy see the list below in Author's suggestions and the video atop this article with a report about Julian Assange's Skype presentation at the SXSW conference yesterday in which he made comments about Facebook and the intrusion into privacy.