Julian Assange Hub




SXSW 2014: What Info Can (And Should) the Government Protect and Collect? - No Easy Answers

HNI_0001_MPO

Sxsw_2014_bugSXSW - Austin's annual tech, film, and music festival - is currently underway and has brought in thousands of film buffs, tech geeks, actors, and musicians from across the globe to meet, mingle, and enjoy the coolest city in Texas. And with the Interactive portion of the festival drawing to a close, what better time to look back on the things we've learned at SXSW 2014 so far.

What Info Can (And Should) the Government Protect & Collect? - No Easy Answers

Issues surrounding citizens' right to privacy and right to access information have been front and center for much of the week here in Austin, with a host of big names offering their thoughts and opinions on the matter.

GoogleGoogle chairman Eric Schmidt and Director of Google Ideas Jared Cohen kicked off SXSW with a discussion that ranged from robotics to privacy to the role of whistleblowers in the digital age. Both also shared their concerns over government overreach and the “balkanization of the internet” by countries around the globe.

In 2012, for example, Iran became the first country to push for a “national internet,” which would allow the country’s government to wall off a part of cyberspace, control it, and potentially even rewrite history. “Imagine if the Arab world decides to delete all references to Israel,” Schmidt hypothesized.

Interestingly, many of the panelists who spoke on issues related to privacy and security in the digital age were unable to be at SXSW in person due to their complicated relationships with the U.S. government.

IMG_1475-1In a video conversation through Skype, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange blasted the NSA as a “rogue agency” and urged citizens to stand up and speak out about their right to privacy. Gay journalist Glenn Greenwald and whistleblower Edward Snowden also appeared via video, with Snowden accusing the NSA and U.S. government of “setting fire to the future of the internet” and telling attendees that they were the “firefighters” against mass surveillance and data collection.

"In an NSA building somewhere probably in Maryland there is a record of everyone who has ever called an abortion clinic, everyone who has called an Alcoholics Anonymous hotline, anyone who has ever called a gay bookstore," Snowden said. "And they tell us don’t worry we aren’t looking at it or we aren’t looking at it in that way...that is none of the government's business."

CloudOther panelists pushed back a bit against the enthusiastic embrace of Assange, Snowden and unfettered access to government information. BBC’s Sharon Weinberger asked audiences to imagine a hypothetical 1940s where both the internet and Edward Snowden were present. How would we feel if he had leaked classified government blueprints for nuclear warheads? Would we support open access to information if it enabled our wartime enemies to potentially build a weapon of mass destruction?

Google’s Schmidt also found the internet’s ability to allow leakers to release extremely large quantities of documents troubling:

“I don’t think we want random people leaking large amounts of random data,” Schmidt said. “People can be hurt. There’s no way to tell if there’s something in a leak of a million documents that it could get someone killed.”

For now, it seems the debate about who exactly gets to decide what “appropriate use” of government power is and what types of information should be public will continue into the foreseable future.  

[Google photo via PC Pro]


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

Assange

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. 


The Trailer for the 'Wikileaks' Movie 'The Fifth Estate' is Here: VIDEO

Fifthestate

The trailer for The Fifth Estate, the movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, directed by Bill Condon. Assange has called the film "a propaganda attack on Wikileaks".

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Vulture talks to Condon about the film:

We're trying very hard to make a movie that raises all the questions without providing all the answers. Even recently, when you saw what happened with the Snowden case, I think it's hard to come down cleanly on one side because this is all just unbelievably complicated; only by getting involved and understanding the issues can people come to an informed decision of their own. I don't want to make it sound like a history lesson, but I think the movie does show, in an exciting way, just how complicated these issues are. And the tagline, it has to do with the idea of citizen journalism, the great wild west of the Internet. It's a true revolution that we're just coming to terms with.

Condon also responds to Assange's 'attack' assertion:

He had a tremendous falling-out with Daniel, and they have a real disagreement about events as they occur. Our movie is also based on a book by a Guardian reporter, and Assange took exception to that, too. But you know, he took exception to his own autobiography, which was ghostwritten by a wonderful author — he wouldn't allow the release of it because it had things that were mildly critical of him. So he's somebody who doesn't really take well to presenting any other side.

2_fifthestate

Continue reading "The Trailer for the 'Wikileaks' Movie 'The Fifth Estate' is Here: VIDEO" »


Lady Gaga and Wikileaks' Julian Assange Have Dinner: PHOTO

Gaga_assange

Lady Gaga posted a photo last night of herself in a pointy witches hat with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

They had dinner at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, the Telegraph reports:

The WikiLeaks founder, who is wanted in Sweden over alleged sex attacks on two women, has been holed up there since June and has claimed asylum.

Lady Gaga is said to have spent five hours with him, emerging at midnight after the two had shared a meal.

Earlier, singer M.I.A. had tweeted a message to Lady Gaga saying: “If ur at harrods today, come visit Assange at the Ecuador embassy across the st. im there. Ill bring TEA and CAKE (sic).”


Towleroad Guide to the Tube #1202

NO MORE DOWN LOW: Reports from the Democratic National Convention.

THE SECRET DISCO REVOLUTION: Jamie Kastner explains how it all went down.

LITTLE FACE MITT: This is a little frightful.

UNDERGROUND: The Julian Assange Story.

For recent Guides to the Tube, click HERE.


NEWS: Mysterious Ladybodies, An Irish Gaffe, A Gun From The Printer (VIDEO)

Big

Towleroad-roadicon After two months in the Ecuadorian embassy, Julian Assange speaks.

Towleroad-roadicon AFTER THE JUMP, hear a Republican senatorial candidate Todd Akin discuss women's reproductive systems:

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Towleroad-roadicon (This is, by the way, the same Todd Akin who last week revealed he knew nothing about morning-after pills he hopes to outlaw.)

NyadTowleroad-roadicon The extraordinary, 62-year-old Diana Nyad is making great progress in her swim from Cuba to Florida.

Towleroad-roadicon It is now possible to make assault rifles with 3D printers.

Towleroad-roadicon Remember how Hank Williams, Jr., was once a lovely, charming young man? What happened?

Towleroad-roadicon Roger Ebert on the Wall of Separation.

Towleroad-roadicon Ulster Unionist Party pol puts his foot in it; fellow pols react:

... the UUP released a statement of “clarification” after Magherafelt councillor Jackie Crawford’s comment about homosexuality had led to criticism.

Cllr Crawford made the remark after a meeting of Magherafelt council on Tuesday night which discussed a Sinn Fein motion calling for same-sex marriage.

The meeting also heard two DUP councillors describe homosexuality as “an abomination”.

... Cllr Crawford, who was elected in 2005, said after the council meeting: “I’m not against gays, it’s a pity for them.

“It’s a pity they have that disease and they can’t help it. It’s the same as you being born with a disability. They can’t help what they are."

Towleroad-roadicon In which gay novelist Kergan Edwards-Stout lets his sons play football:

Now [that our sons are] 10 and 12, we decided that the time was right ... What we failed to consider, however, was how our unique family structure might factor into the dynamics of such a macho team sport, and the potential for consequent emotional injury.

While the kids have practiced the last several weeks, loving and hating every grueling moment, last night found one son’s team on the field, in the middle of a drill, when one of the assistant coaches yelled, “What are you? A bunch of pansies?”

I heard his words, echoing across the grass, and felt like I’d been punched in the gut. All those taunts through the years stay with you, even if you’ve risen above them. I immediately walked over, called my son off the field, and told the coach we were done. We were going to switch teams.

Towleroad-roadicon Here's the new Pussy Riot single. It's good! The only thing that could improve it, maybe, would be Lora Logic blowing sax.

Continue reading "NEWS: Mysterious Ladybodies, An Irish Gaffe, A Gun From The Printer (VIDEO)" »


Trending



Towleroad - Blogged