Assange calls Schmidt/Cohen book a “blueprint for imperialism.”
Okay, it’s not often (see never), you’ll find me quoting Julian Assange other than with an inebriated smirk. Although erudite, I think of the man as kind of a digital-age Abbie Hoffman whose primary cause is to increase the relative importance of himself. And we haven’t heard much from Assange lately, holed up as he is in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London; but the Sunday New York Times offers this OpEd in which he excoriates the book The New Digital Age by Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen. Regardless of whether you believe, as I do, that Assange’s paranoia of states like the U.S. is overplayed for dramatic effect, it is very interesting that he describes Google as having “thrown in its lot with traditional, Washington power elements . . .” All credit to Twitter follower Leslie Burns, who observes, “It’s like spiders who eat their parent.”
From the article:
“The advance of information technology epitomized by Google heralds the death of privacy for most people and shifts the world toward authoritarianism. This is the principal thesis in my book, “Cypherpunks.” But while Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Cohen tell us that the death of privacy will aid governments in “repressive autocracies’ in “targeting their citizens,” they also say governments in “open democracies” will see it as a “gift” enabling them to “better respond to citizen and customer concerns.” In reality, the erosion of individual privacy in the West and the attendant centralization of power make abuses inevitable, moving the “good” societies closer to the “bad” ones.
See also The web is not a panacea on this blog.
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