Julian Assange on Living in a Surveillance Society

An interesting article by Julian Assange:

The very concept of the Internet — a single, global, homogenous network that enmeshes the world — is the essence of a surveillance state. The Internet was built in a surveillance-friendly way because governments and serious players in the commercial Internet wanted it that way. There were alternatives at every step of the way. They were ignored.

At their core, companies like Google and Facebook are in the same business as the U.S. government’s National Security Agency. They collect a vast amount of information about people, store it, integrate it and use it to predict individual and group behavior, which they then sell to advertisers and others. This similarity made them natural partners for the NSA, and that’s why they were approached to be part of PRISM, the secret Internet surveillance program…

…If there is a modern analogue to Orwell’s “simple” and “democratic weapon,” which “gives claws to the weak” it is cryptography, the basis for the mathematics behind Bitcoin and the best secure communications programs. It is cheap to produce: cryptographic software can be written on a home computer. It is even cheaper to spread: software can be copied in a way that physical objects cannot. But it is also insuperable — the mathematics at the heart of modern cryptography are sound, and can withstand the might of a superpower. The same technologies that allowed the Allies to encrypt their radio communications against Axis intercepts can now be downloaded over a dial-up Internet connection and deployed with a cheap laptop.

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