Assange calls Facebook an ‘appalling spy machine'

Controversial figure, Julian Assange said in an interview with Russian news site RT yesterday, that Facebook is an ‘appalling spy machine’.

When asked what his thoughts of the role of social network sites in regards to the revolutions in the Middle East he said "Facebook in particular is the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented. 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 U.S. intelligence."

The interviewer was curious to find out what Assange knew about how government decisions are made.

Assange went on to say that major U.S organizations such as Google, Facebook and Yahoo all have built in interfaces which they developed for use by U.S intelligence. By automating the process, instead of handing the records out individually, it saves the companies time and money when the government ask questions about an individual or collective group. Soon after he said “Everyone should understand that when add their friends to Facebook, they are doing free work for U.S Intelligence agencies in building this database for them.”

You would think Assange could have been a little more complimentary when talking about Facebook since when services such as Paypal and GoDaddy were being pressured by government to prevent WikiLeaks from using their services; Facebook didn’t bow. The WikiLeaks Facebook page remained online and Facebook themselves refused to bring it down, noting that the fan page didn’t "violate our content standards nor have we encountered any material posted on the page that violates our policies."

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Facebook is a huge waste of time. And it is scary how much it knows about you. Anyone who thinks that info is not for sale is a fool. Zuckerberg has repeatedly made pretty scary comments about privacy.

It does not matter if you deactivate your account. Facebook still has records of every conversation, message, post or scrap of info you ever posted, and it is all linked to your friends and family. Once you hit submit, you have lost control of the data.

This is not a conspiracy theory. It is a simple fact.

For the most part, I couldn't agree with Assagne more!!

Facebook is flat out one of the worst sites ever!! As are all those socially diseased sites!! Wouldn't touch then with YOUR computer even.

If you think the government aren't using facebook to track people and their contacts your kidding yourself. Even if its not facebook allowing it, there's nothing stopping them. Its a free database of people and their friends. Nothings private. Thats why I have multi emails for every account on any forums or sites with no real details on any of them. You can use stuff without putting your personal details out there. Its not paranoia its just being safe, the clowns are out to get me! Tin foil hats don't help!

It is no surprise if government uses tech like this. I am torn between two points of view.

Part of me feels that, well, any information the government has on me .. how is that going to harm me at all? Right now it really wouldn't, but, we saw what happened to Wikileaks and Assange. Do something that is disapproved of and you will be punished, and not in a court of law. The UK Police are already known to use ANPR on the motorways to track and harrass people they don't like.

Everyone should read 1984... it seems to me that the world is slowing moving toward that.

Laura said,
It is no surprise if government uses tech like this. I am torn between two points of view.

Part of me feels that, well, any information the government has on me .. how is that going to harm me at all? Right now it really wouldn't, but, we saw what happened to Wikileaks and Assange. Do something that is disapproved of and you will be punished, and not in a court of law. The UK Police are already known to use ANPR on the motorways to track and harrass people they don't like.

Everyone should read 1984... it seems to me that the world is slowing moving toward that.

At one point in everyone's life each of us will make a mistake.

true, its a spy machine, people deliberately tell their info - photos, relatives, age, location, profession, friends... etc. CIA and the likes of it can just go on facebook if they want too look up someone

Here's a couple more points from the interview, or better said, the complete Q&A:

RT: And social networking, what role, do you think, sites like Facebook and Twitter, have played in the revolutions in the Middle East? How easy, would you say, is it to manipulate media like that?

JA: Facebook in particular is the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented. 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 organizations 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.

Now, is it the case that Facebook is actually run by US intelligence? No, it's not like that. It's simply that US intelligence is able to bring to bear legal and political pressure on them. And it's costly for them to hand out records one by one, so they have automated the process. 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.

---

RT: And finally, Julian, who do you consider to be your No. 1 enemy?

JA: Our No. 1 enemy is ignorance. And I believe that is the No. 1 enemy for everyone - it's not understanding what actually is going on in the world. It's only when you start to understand that you can make effective decisions and effective plans. Now, the question is, who is promoting ignorance? Well, those organizations that try to keep things secret, and those organizations which distort true information to make it false or misrepresentative. In this latter category, it is bad media.

It really is my opinion that media in general are so bad that we have to question whether the world wouldn't be better off without them altogether. They are so distortive to how the world actually is that the result is… we see wars, and we see corrupt governments continue on.

One of the hopeful things that I've discovered is that nearly every war that has started in the past 50 years has been a result of media lies. The media could've stopped it if they had searched deep enough; if they hadn't reprinted government propaganda they could've stopped it. But what does that mean? Well, that means that basically populations don't like wars, and populations have to be fooled into wars. Populations don't willingly, with open eyes, go into a war. So if we have a good media environment, then we also have a peaceful environment.

If I recall correctly it was the likes of Marx and Engels who said that the media was an agent of the state, of control.

When Prince Harry was in Afghanistan there was a complete and co-ordinated media blackout for quite a long time. I certainly don't begrudge them giving Princy Harry that safety but it shows you how things can be hidden.

Laura said,
If I recall correctly it was the likes of Marx and Engels who said that the media was an agent of the state, of control.

What is your opinion on the matter?

from V for Vendetta
Dascomb: Why not? This is the BTN. Our job is to report the news, not fabricate it... That's the government's job.

))


When Prince Harry was in Afghanistan there was a complete and co-ordinated media blackout for quite a long time. I certainly don't begrudge them giving Princy Harry that safety but it shows you how things can be hidden.

I don't expect the media to cover all the stories as truthfully as possible. I believe there are certain issues which are better remain hidden for the sake of keeping the public order. However, my grudge with the media is their tendency to intentionally misinterpret the information for some kind of political agenda - to sway public opinion one way or another.

One of the hopeful things that I've discovered is that nearly every war that has started in the past 50 years has been a result of media lies.

This is a pretty strong statement to make and I sort of agree.

Edited by zhiVago, May 4 2011, 9:50am :

How is this news? The Onion pointed out months ago that Facebook is a data gathering tool created by the CIA Agent Zuckerburg to aid them in their intelligence gathering.

I mean this was the Onion, they are a reputable news agency aren't they?

‘appalling spy machine' should be in the plural, there are many culprits !!!!
the ultimate introversion of society who wants to know who/why/when/where/how 24/7 harvesting,collecting and storing meaningless data.
here comes INFORMATION RETRIEVAL

SpyCatcher said,
He is 100% right however people are not smart enough to understand what he is saying.

*thumbs up*

It's really sad to see the uneducated responses on this news article. Assange is only saying Social media sites are only making it easier for the Gov to abuse us.

Example, did you know if you password protect a Word 2010 document, by law, the UK gov have forced Microsoft to allow them to use a special password to open it? My friends who work at the MOD have worked with Microsoft for the past 10+ years on this. If Microsoft did not provide the back door, Word would not have been allowed to be released in the UK.

The same is true to cell phones.

Brian Miller said,
If Microsoft did not provide the back door, Word would not have been allowed to be released in the UK.
If it's true that Microsoft denied the UK Gov a backdoor for BitLocker, I doubt a Word ban would've come to fruition.

I hope they don't put any meaning behind friends people have on there, i just add everyone! i played mafia wars for a while so i have like 1000 friends, but only know about 30-40 of them...

Buttus said,
I hope they don't put any meaning behind friends people have on there, i just add everyone! i played mafia wars for a while so i have like 1000 friends, but only know about 30-40 of them...

I did the same with farmville, but by doing that you effectively kill your facebook. You miss everyone's status updates, and 90% of the people on there you couldn't give a rats *** about there lives cause they are just mafia wars friends. After i deleted my 400 farmville friends, my facebook is once again usable.

Buttus said,
I hope they don't put any meaning behind friends people have on there, i just add everyone! i played mafia wars for a while so i have like 1000 friends, but only know about 30-40 of them...

Remember, you are always "guilty by association".

1 - why would they care what I put on facebook....my life just isnt that interesting
2 - anybody who knows that 3 letter agencies are looking for them would be stupid to post about their lives on facebook and deserve to get caught. Its not like they are posting "going to blow up key government building today with some friends...should be fun lol"

flexkeyboard said,
1. You're right, your life is pretty 'lame'.
2. but let just hope none of your friend on your fb list is a terrorrriisstt k? thanks bye!
2. If he is one then I hope his posting information for me on FB helps them track him down and nail his ass.

Ryoken said,
2. If he is one then I hope his posting information for me on FB helps them track him down and nail his ass.
2. Don't worry, you'll be on the list of suspects for that investigation and future investigations because of your relationship with the terrorist. "Guilty by association" as Brian Miller says below.

Jose_49 said,
I wonder if facebook database got hacked as they did with PSN, wonder what would happen...

DAMN that would be a large file to copy, lol

Seizure1990 said,
Wasn't he accused of rape? I find that pretty appalling, honestly.

I accuse you of rape, does that mean you're guilty of it? Go watch that video in the link, JA also said something about 'ignorance' beside the facebook comment.

Seizure1990 said,
Wasn't he accused of rape? I find that pretty appalling, honestly.

I find your ignorance pretty appalling, honestly.

flexkeyboard said,

I accuse you of rape, does that mean you're guilty of it? Go watch that video in the link, JA also said something about 'ignorance' beside the facebook comment.

Did he ever appear in Switzerland or whereever it was to face the charges?

Seizure1990 said,
when they reach half a billion people, won't the intel services just use it to spy on people they suspect?

No, if I know of intel services using it I shall simply export my account, set up my own diaspora pod, import my stuff and done.

Omid Sadeghi said,
I trust in facebook until it is proved that facebook is a spy. Assange has no proof for his claim
He has no proof.... There are over half a billion people on facebook the intel services would be stupid not to use facebook to spy on people they suspect.

Omid Sadeghi said,
I trust in facebook until it is proved that facebook is a spy. Assange has no proof for his claim

He never said it was a conspiracy. He is saying FP and other companies by law have to provide information about people should the gov subpoena the information. Bu having it all there on a Social media site makes that an easy job got the Gov.

This isn't the first time I've seen comments being made about social networking sites. It most probably is used for intelligence at the end of the day but whether it's part of a big conspiracy or not remains to be seen.

LynxMukka said,
This isn't the first time I've seen comments being made about social networking sites. It most probably is used for intelligence at the end of the day but whether it's part of a big conspiracy or not remains to be seen.
Go watch Minority Report if you haven't already.

Cause US companies are the only one who do this Assange, it's not like other countries which develop their own services don't do this.

Edrick Smith said,
Cause US companies are the only one who do this Assange, it's not like other countries which develop their own services don't do this.

Don't let him get to you. He got sad that he wasn't in the news anymore as some sort of hero and needed to say something to get himself back into the public spotlight.

LiquidSolstice said,

Don't let him get to you. He got sad that he wasn't in the news anymore as some sort of hero and needed to say something to get himself back into the public spotlight.

More like you shouldn't be allowed to spread bull **** with your tin foil hat on. Assange made a perfectly truthful comment.

This is exactly what people are doing:

Assange went on to say that major U.S organizations such as Google, Facebook and Yahoo all have built in interfaces which they developed for use by U.S intelligence. By automating the process, instead of handing the records out individually, it saves the companies time and money when the government ask questions about an individual or collective group. Soon after he said “Everyone should understand that when add their friends to Facebook, they are doing free work for U.S Intelligence agencies in building this database for them.”

Why the **** do you think so many idiot copy cat companies popped up in the last 10 years who do exactly the same thing? They all want a slice of this spying/people information market.

Look up your name or family members's name at these sites: http://www.ussearch.com, http://www.peoplesearchpro.com, http://www.rapleaf.com, etc. I am sure you're going to get a hit.

They sell it for $. They make money out of YOU, without YOUR consent. Don't act like a ****ing idiot. Uneducated comments like yours **** me the hell off.

Imaging how much money Google and Facebook would make once the government FULLY starts depending on Google and Facebook.

Edited by Jebadiah, May 4 2011, 5:34am :

Jebadiah said,
More like you shouldn't be allowed to spread bull **** with your tin foil hat on. Assange made a perfectly truthful comment.

This is exactly what people are doing:


Why the **** do you think so many idiot copy cat companies popped up in the last 10 years who do exactly the same thing? They all want a slice of this spying/people information market.

Look up your name or family members's name at these sites: http://www.ussearch.com, http://www.peoplesearchpro.com, http://www.rapleaf.com, etc. I am sure you're going to get a hit.

They sell it for $. They make money out of YOU, without YOUR consent. Don't act like a ****ing idiot. Uneducated comments like yours **** me the hell off.

Imaging how much money Google and Facebook would make once the government FULLY starts depending on Google and Facebook.

Wow! The irony of you telling someone ELSE to put on the foil hat! Ha!