Eric Schmidt discussed book material with Julian Assange in 2011
19 April 2013
Google chairman, Eric Schmidt in a meeting with the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2011, that stretched over five hours, discussed material for a book expected to release next week.
Schmidt met Assange in secret, according to the transcript of a wide-ranging discussion published late yesterday by the document-leaking organisation.
The transcript of the meeting, which occurred even as Assange continued to be under house arrest in the UK, was published just days ahead of the scheduled release of Schmidt's new book, The New Digital Age, on Tuesday.
The co-author of the book, Google Ideas director Jared Cohen, was also present during the discussion, according to the transcript.
According to Assange, the interview that offered an intimate look into the thought processes of two of the tech world's most influential individuals, was apparently conducted to provide material for that book.
Assange said that he had been guaranteed that he would see the transcript and would be able to adjust it for accuracy and clarity.
During the wide-ranging five-hour interview, Schmidt expressed interest in WikiLeaks' inner workings and Assange's role in developing the technology behind it.
Assange said the genesis of the site came in response to what he saw as a "crippled" information distribution system.
During the secret meeting, Jared Cohen, a former secretary of state advisor to Hillary Clinton and Lisa Shields of the Council for Foreign Relations were also present.
According to the transcript, Shields was responsible for going through the transcript and to adjust it for accuracy and clarity.
Cohen asked Assange about the most critical element of the changes around the world to which he replied that the most optimistic thing that was happening was the radicalisation of internet educated youth.
"People who were receiving their values from the internet... and then as they found them to be compatible echoing them back."
He said the echo back was now so strong that it drowned the original statements completely. He added, the people he had dealt with from the 1960s - radicals who helped liberate Greece - were saying that this moment in time was the most similar to what happened in this period of liberation movements in the 1960s, that they had seen.
Cohen asked why there had not been people in places like Iran or North Korea or Congo releasing documents in the same way as there had been in say in Western democracies.
Assange replied, that they had a material from Iran, but it was not that easy to do a WikiLeaks, due to a combination of technicalities and reputation and funding and so on.