Wikileaks meets Surveillance Valley: An interview with Julian Assange

“The problem,” says Julian Assange, is that “a lot of groups that would normally criticize Google, the nonprofits that are involved in the tech sector are funded directly or indirectly by Google. Or by USAID. Or by Freedom House. Google and its extended network have significant patronage in the very groups that would normally be criticizing it.”

Assange is speaking over the telephone from his exile in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. I’m 3,700 miles away in the eastern United States. The connection is awful, which makes the conversation stilted and weird. It also lends the whole affair a certain degree of intrigue. It feels like the secret police could bust in and confiscate our shortwave radios at any minute.

“For example,” he continues, “the EFF is a great group, and they’ve done good things for us, but nonetheless it is significantly funded by Google, or people who work at Google.”

I wanted to make sure I heard him right: “Are you saying that if it didn’t have those ties, that the EFF would be more outspoken against Google?”

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