Julian Assange Calls for Public Action to Defend Against ‘Rogue’ NSA


During a virtual conversation with SXSW attendees in Austin on Saturday, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange railed against the overreaching surveillance programs under the "rogue agency" NSA and stressed that citizens need to be aware of the growing "militarization" of the internet by governments. 

S2_sxsw“Now that the internet has merged with human society … the laws that apply to the internet apply to human society,” Assange said. “This penetration of the internet by the NSA and [British intelligence agency] GCHQ is the penetration of our human society. It means there has been a militarization of our civilian space.”

Assange warned of the U.S. and other governments’ efforts to introduce “a new international regime of censorship” with various trade agreements such as the Trans Pacific Partnership. He also spoke at length about how it is no longer viable for everyday citizens to ignore privacy and security concerns.

“It’s not the case any more that you can hide from the state, and keep your head down, and hope that by sucking up or by being innocuous you can be spared,” Assange said. “So we have no choice but to try to manage the behaviour of the state that we have been forced to be part of.”

Towards the end of the talk, Assange briefly touched on future plans for Wikileaks, saying that it is preparing an “important” new release of material, but warned that he prefers not to give “the alleged perpetrator” the ability to prepare with “counter-spin” on what will be released. 


  1. Randy says

    He looks like a cross between Obi Wan Kenobi (from the original Star Wars) and Richard Branson.

    In any case, he is right. I recommend watching his series The World Tomorrow which he hosted under house arrest.

    My solution to the problem would be to decentralize the internet physically. It was never intended to be centralized with choke points. It should be decentralized and mobile, and strong encryption should be required, rather than being an option you have to turn on.

  2. Brett says

    Honestly,he sounds crazy. But I’ll give him this: he’s a brilliant marketer and knows exactly what to say to get people riled up, and so he can stay relevant. While I am sure that there is a grain of truth to what he says, I’m not entirely sure he’s the most unbiased source…

  3. Paul R says

    Sure, he’s self-serving and more than a bit paranoid and kooky (I don’t understand the link between trade agreements and censorship). But he makes a legitimate argument for vigilance against government interference in our lives.

    Anyone who has ever had their phone tapped (back when it was far more targeted, not a blanket policy) and been held up for hours by useless, invasive scrutiny every time they enter the US can attest to that. Especially since a lot of that work is farmed out to incompetent contractors.

    That said, our public space started being “militarized” long before the Internet, and “militarization” is an overly dramatic way of describing it.

  4. miami says

    Sadly he is right, as cooky as it sounds we have given up so many of our rights and private thoughts to the combination of corporations and government surveillance its become to overwhelming to contemplate for most citizens.