Assange: Google + Government = Evil

In yesterday’s NY Times, available here, there is a scathing op-ed by wikileaks founder Julian Assange premised on a critique of the new book by Google CEO Eric Schmidt and former State Dept. official, and current head of Google Ideas, Jared Cohen, but more appropriately characterized as Assange’s attempt to throw up a large warning sign with regards to this partnership and its vision for America going forward. Of my favorite snippets-

“Commodities just become more marvelous; young, urban professionals sleep, work and shop with greater ease and comfort; democracy is insidiously subverted by technologies of surveillance, and control is enthusiastically rebranded as “participation”; and our present world order of systematized domination, intimidation and oppression continues, unmentioned, unafflicted or only faintly perturbed.”

While Assange is correct to point out the ever more cozy relationship between Washington and Silicon Valley (at least for finding jobs!), his piece is missing a key recent news item in the union of the west coast techies and east coast pseudo-technocrats: Google challenging the governments National Security Letters (NSLs) requests. You can read more about this here-
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/04/google-fights-nsl/

And last week, a US District Court judge ordered Google to comply with the NSLs, although she left open the opportunity for Google to continue its challenge with a more direct attack on the specific NSLs that it was presented.

No doubt that Google and the gov are buddies, and to some degree thats a good thing, but the kind of BFFs that Assange portrays is a bit of a stretch.

Comments

3 Comments

  1. Interesting commentary, but is Google fighting to protect the privacy of its clients based on “do no evil” or just good business practices?

  2. This makes much more sense now that PRISM has come to light, although we must ask whether Google’s challenge to the NSL’s are genuine or not. I think it would be a stretch to say that Google opposed these NSL’s simply to be able to deny supporting the surveillance if the truth ever was outed. Rather, I believe that Google was concerned with the legal implications, and was at least taking some steps to push back.

Leave a Comment