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Julian Assange: "Online Totalitarianism Is Near, Entire Nations Are Intercepted" 325

dryriver writes "Russia Today's correspondents have visited Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where Assange has been holed up for nearly 6 months now. In the 12 minute long interview with RT, Assange has many interesting things to say about privacy, and government data interception in particular. A small excerpt: 'The people who control the interception of the Internet and, to some degree also, physically control the big data warehouses and the international fiber-optic lines. We all think of the Internet as some kind of Platonic Realm where we can throw out ideas and communications and web pages and books and they exist somewhere out there. Actually, they exist on web servers in New York or Nairobi or Beijing, and information comes to us through satellite connections or through fiber-optic cables. So whoever physically controls this controls the realm of our ideas and communications. And whoever is able to sit on those communications channels, can intercept entire nations, and that's the new game in town, as far as state spying is concerned — intercepting entire nations, not individuals. ... So what's happened over the last 10 years is the ever-decreasing cost of intercepting each individual now to the degree where it is cheaper to intercept every individual rather that it is to pick particular people to spy upon.'"
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Julian Assange: "Online Totalitarianism Is Near, Entire Nations Are Intercepted"

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  • use encryption (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @05:53PM (#42163497) Homepage Journal

    As the Cypherpunks have been saying for maybe 20 years now: Use encryption. Not just SSL when you buy something online, but for everything. Heck, we should all be running IPSec. But it's not going anywhere because we don't understand interception and think it doesn't happen to us.

  • by joocemann ( 1273720 ) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @05:55PM (#42163511)

    ... have come forward and discussed dragnet unconstitutional surveillance that they were personally involved with. Remember Tice?

    But everyone was worried about the latest Linux build, who is suing who, or Kim Kardashian's ass...

  • by SomePgmr ( 2021234 ) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @05:56PM (#42163515) Homepage

    I don't know about all that. If you asked my parents, who can barely send email, if the internet is truly anonymous and outside the grasp of various nations' surveillance, they'd laugh at the question.

    It seems more likely that we regularly submit, read, and comment on these things because it's our way of bitching about it. Which I suppose is reason enough on its own.

  • I blame the geeks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @06:47PM (#42163825) Homepage Journal

    Geeks are to blame for most of the loss of human rights on the net.

    We write so much software that other geeks use, but can't seem to get a handle on ease-of-use or taking action.

    If Thunderbird incorporated the equivalent of Enigmail [] from the start, lots of people would be using it now. The extra security would be a selling point, causing other applications to compensate by becoming compatible. Over time, every E-mail client would have been secure, some committee would have come up with a standard, and that would be the end of it.

    If linux had encryption built into the OS (what are the functions of an OS anyway, if not to manage such things?) so that secure sockets were trivially available, the same thing would happen for other protocols.

    Instead, we leave it as an exercise for the user. The user has to know that they want security, then know where and how to get it, then learn how to use it, then convince other people how to do the same. We leave encryption as an exercise to the coder, an add-on to be implemented in every new application.

    We have a "reply to all" button, why can't we have a "make private if the recipient has encryption" button?

    This sort of mass surveillance can only happen when the surveillance is easy. Why don't we just make it hard?

    Instead of wailing and gnashing of teeth, how about we actually solve the problem?

    Nota Bene: Yes, there are issues to be resolved, none of which are very difficult. No, perfect security is not attainable, but "good enough" security will help a lot. And no, none of the problems that come to mind are insurmountable.

  • by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @07:09PM (#42163975)

    If you want to be informed, you have to read all the news services and take them all with a grain of salt.

    Despite your current moderation, that view isn't really popular with large segments of people on Slashdot. It seems many people here don't like news from a different perspective, or providing inconvenient facts, if you know what I mean []. (Cue posts about Fox News lying, reality has a liberal bias, etc. . . . . and then see parent post.) I guess to many people it is vital that we all look different, but think the same.

  • Re:Silly FUD Summary (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <> on Sunday December 02, 2012 @07:37PM (#42164151) Homepage Journal

    The problem with this idea is that even if everything is encrypted end-to-end the government will just go after the ends. For example I always use encryption when accessing Google, but the government could still go to Google and get my search history.

    So not only do we need to get everyone to use Tor or whatever, we need them to switch to secure services that somehow pay for themselves without invading privacy or being vulnerable to government demands to log and hand over data.

  • the funniest thing about those who freely pillory the West and refrain from criticizing the likes of Russia, is that if the situation were reversed: attacking Russia from within Russia, and remaining silent on the West, they would get a knock on the door

    in other words, you don't know how good you got it. can the West improve? of course. but you have to be intellectually honest when comparing the West's track record with the likes of Russia, or you just can't be taken seriously

    freedom of speech. freedom of the press. these are concepts in the West that are not perfect, but legally and culturally adhered to orders of magnitude better than in countries like Russia

    are you afraid you will be targeted for speaking out against the West, as you post from within the West? no?

    think about that. think about what that really means. now try to be intellectually honest on this subject matter

  • by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @08:52PM (#42164657)

    Sorry Mr. Slippery, but Fox News is indeed a news channel that also provides commentary.

    Fox News viewers overall are about equally informed as other networks, and viewers of particular shows are better informed [].

    Data from table: Education, Age, and Knowledge

    Knowledge / Source

    44% - NPR
    43% - Hardball
    42% - Hannity & Colmes
    36% - Rush Limbaugh
    34% - BBC
    34% - Colbert Report
    33% - NewsHour
    30% - Daily Show
    22% - Daily newspaper
    21% - NBC News
    19% - CNN
    19% - ABC news
    19% - Fox News
    18% - National Average
    17% - Local TV news
    10% - CBS News

    Why does this sort of disparity in outcomes exist?
    Jon Stewart Slams Fox Viewers as Most Misinformed, But He's the Ignorant One []
    The Truth-O-Meter Says: []

    Perhaps someday we will live in a world where Daily Show and Colbert Report viewers are as well informed as Rush Limbaugh listeners, but not today.

    Believing that Fox News makes you stupid or misinformed is a comforting lie backed by cooked polls that people tell themselves to reassure themselves of their superiority. It may in some fashion be comforting, but it isn't true.

May all your PUSHes be POPped.