Julian Assange : Google Is Evil in “The New Digital Age”

Very interesting reading as Julian Assange comments on Google, CEO Eric Shchmidt and his book, The New Digital Age. Read on…

“THE New Digital Age” is a startlingly clear and provocative blueprint for technocratic imperialism, from two of its leading witch doctors, Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, who construct a new idiom for United States global power in the 21st century. This idiom reflects the ever closer union between the State Department and Silicon Valley, as personified by Mr. Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, and Mr. Cohen, a former adviser to Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton who is now director of Google Ideas.”

He goes onto say,

“This book is a balefully seminal work in which neither author has the language to see, much less to express, the titanic centralizing evil they are constructing….If you want a vision of the future, imagine Washington-backed Google Glasses strapped onto vacant human faces — forever.”

What does this have to do with artists rights you may ask? Well, the way we see it is that Privacy and Anti-Piracy are bound together by the same common bond of respecting the rights of individual citizens. Which is why individual citizens are granted BOTH the right of individual privacy and the right to protection of their labor under Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


Permission, Privacy and Piracy : Where Creators and Consumers Meet

It’s amazing how situationally dependent perspectives about the internet appear to be that something as fundamental as consent (aka permission) would be controversial. Much ink has been spilled over a consumers right to privacy in the digital age and that concern now extends beyond the internet to personal privacy fears over the potential misuse of domestic drones.

The irony of course about all the hysteria being discussed about drones (military, commercial or private) is that the greater threat to personal privacy is much more local than an unmanned aircraft at 14,000 feet, or even a home built quad copter. The real threat that will bring the real world to the same persistent observation (and cataloging) of our daily lives will be Google Glass (where is the EFF when you need them?).

Google Glass is a device that records to the cloud a persistent stream of visual and audio data as the user experiences it. Anything, and everything a person would have experienced as a personal and private experience will be recorded, cataloged, geo-tagged, and stored online. Automated face recognition technology will make it less possible to be anonymous in the real world than it currently is in the online world via the use of avatars.

But what does this have to do with piracy? Specifically what does this have to do with content piracy? How are privacy and piracy related? It’s simple, both privacy and piracy revolve around how we view the importance of the individuals right to grant consent. An individual should have the right to grant the specific permissions to access information about us and how that information can be used. Agreed?

This is the same fundamental individual right that governs the protection of a creators work from illegal exploitation. Permission is the cornerstone to a civilized society. Maybe ask these women in Texas about it?

Below is a recent example of how ordinary people, who are also creators got a first hand lesson in “permissionless innovation” aka, “you will be monetized” or “all ur net proceeds now belong to us.”

When Instagram attempted to change it’s terms of service that would allow the company to monetize the work of the individual without the individuals permission, consumers went ballistic. It seems that permission is not such a difficult concept to grasp when people are personally effected. This is why privacy is a much more universal issue, because everyone is effected by it.

It is strangely ironic (or not really) that the companies who were so quick to threaten an “internet blackout” really have no such motivation in detailing how individual personal data is being collected and monetized. Even when that data is from children. So much for being open and transparent.

What’s worse is that Google has been repeatedly caught red handed violating the privacy of not just it’s users but also unsuspecting consumers. Two cases that immediately come to mind are the Safari privacy scandal and resulting settlement and the much broader real world illegal data collection scheme known as Wi-Spy.

So, just like everyone understands the basic fundamental right to privacy is built on the permissions we grant by consent to other citizens, businesses and institutions, individual creators also have the same right to grant permission to who and how their work can be exploited (yes their work, as in labor) for profit and gain.

This is even more important when those doing the profiting are corporations and businesses like Google, various advertising networks and others.