WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange reveals bits from his forthcoming book
17 September 2014
WikiLeaks co-creator, Julian Assange, took questions about his new book, When Google Met WikiLeaks, as part of an "Ask Me Anything" event on social website Reddit yesterday. The book gives an account of Assange's meeting with Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Google, Newsweek reported.
Assange charges Google of being the agent of the US government, ''Google can certainly do something better to fight privacy violations and protect their users. For instance, in the book, you'll see that I asked Eric Schmidt to leak secret government requests to WikiLeaks. He refused. On a larger scale, companies like Google have a lot more heft than, say, Lavabit.
"Imagine Google had engaged in the kind of resistance to a government order that Ladar Levison engaged in. Google's population is gigantic. That would be a serious challenge to the US government. But you won't see that happen, because - as I argue in the book - Google is too close to the government.''
''But in a wider sense, I think it is misguided to be looking to Google to help get us out of this mess. In large part, Google has us in this mess. The company's business model is based on sucking private data out of parts of human community that have never before been subject to monitoring, and turning that into a profit. I do not think it is wise to try to "reform" something which, from first premises, is beyond reform.''
Meanwhile Assange had confirmed that WikiLeaks made a substantial amount of money via what he called a ''strategic investment'' in Bitcoin, forexminute.com reported.
He recalled that Bitcoin had overtaken the US dollar and reached parity with the euro on the day of his conversation with Eric Schmidt. He said he could not persuade Schmidt to embrace Bitcoin, but admitted that his belief in the concept helped WikiLeaks in its darkest hour.
The creator of bitcoin had appealed to Assange not to use the cryptocurrency to receive donations due to fears that government attention would "destroy" it, Yahoo News UK reported.
Assange wrote in a footnote in the book, due to be release this week, that he spoke with the pseudonymous inventor of bitcoin after Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and other financial companies pulled their services from his organisation in 2010.
Responding to a suggestion on bitcoin forum that Wikileaks could accept bitcoin, Nakamoto apparently claimed such integration would "provoke unwanted government interest" in the nascent cryptocurrency.
"The project needs to grow gradually so the software can be strengthened along the way," Nakamoto said. "I make this appeal to WikiLeaks not to try to use bitcoin.
"Bitcoin is a small beta community in its infancy. You would not stand to get more than pocket change and the heat you would bring would likely destroy us at this stage."