Assange Calls Facebook "Appalling Spying Machine"
Julian Assange, a founding father of the famous Wikileaks website, divided public opinion like no other man. A digital prophet for some, a dangerous nut job for others, he’s touted to be a shining paragon of free speech, and at the same time he stands accused of being an anti-western propagandist.
One thing is certain, he doesn’t like to stay quiet for too long. Yesterday he made another attempt at grabbing the headlines with some strong claims about Facebook and social networks in general, in an interview for Russia Today TV station.
Assange criticized Facebook for providing a wealth of information to CIA. “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” he said. He also called Facebook “the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented”.
Many people out there don’t like Facebook, be it for the lackluster privacy settings, the feature bloat, or the redundancy of boring status updates, but an “appalling spying machine” takes it to a whole new level.
The thing is, regardless of what you may think about Assange, there is a grain of truth in his claims. The open social networks are a godsend to all intelligence agencies. Years ago, in order to have a basic profile of a person, you had to go around asking his neighbors, co-workers, former partners, you had to make many calls, engage in some spying and wiretapping. Now we put all possible information up for the world to see – our political views, our interests, our network of social contacts. Aggregating and extracting this information is of key importance to many intelligence services around the world.
Some people go even further than Assange. One crazy conspiracy theory claims that Facebook is a CIA project, as some of the first venture funding came from people tied to capital firms established by the CIA.Continued on the next page