Julian Assange slams ‘appalling spy’ Facebook
WikiLeaks editor says social media users are just helping US intelligence
Julian Assange, who already counts the US and Swedish governments, Mastercard and the Guardian newspaper among his many enemies, has now lashed out against Facebook, branding it "the most appalling spying machine ever invented".
In an interview with Russia Today, Assange, whose whistleblowing website WikiLeaks has been credited - along with websites like Facebook and Twitter - with fuelling the so-called 'Arab Spring', was asked what he thought of social media's contribution to the revolutions which have swept despots from power in Egypt and Tunisia.
Far from celebrating the power of such websites to negate government censorship or organise resistance, Assange slammed the ease with which they can be manipulated by the US government.
"Facebook in particular is the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented," Assange said.
"Here we have the world's most comprehensive database about people, their relationships, their names, their addresses, their locations and the communications with each other, their relatives, all sitting within the United States, all accessible to US intelligence.
"Facebook, Google, Yahoo - all these major US organisations have built-in interfaces for US intelligence. It's not a matter of serving a subpoena. They have an interface that they have developed for US intelligence to use...
"Everyone should understand that when they add their friends to Facebook, they are doing free work for United States intelligence agencies in building this database for them."
While many may think Assange's anger against social media is somewhat uncharitable, it is certainly understandable. A number of WikiLeaks associates are currently fighting attempts by the US department of justice to access their Twitter accounts.
US authorities hope they will find something in there to help in their increasingly forlorn efforts to construct a legal case against Assange, who they want to extradite for his part in releasing embarrassing and sensitive documents and videos, including the US embassy cables, in 2010. ·
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