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Secret Chat Between Julian Assange and Eric Schmidt Published By WikiLeaks 212

Posted by Soulskill
from the who-leaks-the-leakers dept.
New submitter milkasing writes "The Verge reports, 'Google chairman Eric Schmidt and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange secretly met in 2011 and held a lengthy interview, according to a transcript published on the whistleblowing site. The leak is surprisingly timely — Schmidt was apparently conducting research with Jared Cohen for the pair's book The New Digital Age, which is set to be released on Tuesday. Assange was under house arrest in England at the time the five-hour conversation took place. The conversation is a fascinating look into the minds of the two men, both of whom have had immeasurable impact on issues surrounding technology over recent years."
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Secret Chat Between Julian Assange and Eric Schmidt Published By WikiLeaks

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  • fascinating look (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 19, 2013 @12:40PM (#43494841)

    "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place" - Eric Schmidt

    What a great guy!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 19, 2013 @02:16PM (#43495801)

      I write bad poetry/ am gay but not out/ have cancer. I can think of many different things that people don't necessarily want to tell the world but aren't amoral acts. "I'm ashamed of X because X is questionably moral" and "I don't want to announce X because I'm embarrassed" are not the same thing.

    • by Nerdfest (867930)

      Wasn't his meaning more "you shouldn't be doing it on the internet?".

      • Wasn't his meaning more "you shouldn't be doing it on the internet?".

        If so, we can agree that you shouldn't e.g. store pictures on a computer that is connected to the internet let alone upload it somewhere. However, this has little to do with the issue. People can upload photos of you without your consent, violating your privacy (the right to be left alone).

        • by Nerdfest (867930)

          Would someone be violating your privacy if they just took the pictures and kept them for themself, or mailed them to friends? I don't even see the need to bring the internet into the conversation except as a medium for transfer, storage, and publicity. If there are problem with privacy, deal with them using rights and laws that already exist. Don't blame the tool.

          • by vux984 (928602)

            Would someone be violating your privacy if they just took the pictures and kept them for themself, or mailed them to friends?

            Depends. Am I the subject of the photos? Or am I just wandering by in the background? What are they doing with the photos? Why did they send the photos to their friends? Did it have anything to do with me, or am I again just incidentally in the frame?

            If there are problem with privacy, deal with them using rights and laws that already exist. Don't blame the tool.

            The problem isn't the

    • by ron_ivi (607351)

      "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place" - Eric Schmidt

      So I guess he wishes that subversive who published Common Sense [wikipedia.org] should have been caught right away before leading to the overthrow of that government occupation of the new world?

    • Re:fascinating look (Score:5, Informative)

      by HeckRuler (1369601) on Friday April 19, 2013 @04:47PM (#43498083)

      Dude, didn't you pick up ANY context of what he was saying?

      Here we go:

      "People are treating Google like their most trusted friend. Should they be?"

      "I think judgment matters. If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place, but if you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines including Google do retain this information for some time, and it’s important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act. It is possible that, that information could be made available to the authorities."

      You should really take that as a not-too-subtle reminder that the cops are looking over his shoulder and he's required by law to turn all your info over to the cops.

      If all your little brain is capable of retaining is the bold section, then big issues like Internet privacy might not be for you.

      • Furthermore, it ignores the obvious alternate solution: Destroy all the witnesses. That's why we should be pouring all our military assets into NASA. You think the aliens are going to let us take to the stars and tell all their friends about how they got drunk, buzzed Earth for grins, and crashed in Area 51?! They probably shouldn't have been doing it, but all the direct evidence of their involvement has been destroyed -- That is the lesson to learn.

    • Re:fascinating look (Score:5, Informative)

      by lars (72) on Friday April 19, 2013 @06:02PM (#43498841)

      It's been something like three years since Schmidt said that, and people are still quoting it out of context (facepalm). The comment was in reference to activities performed using Google's services, and was qualified with "the reality is that search engines including Google do retain this information for some time, and it's important, for example that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act. It is possible that that information could be made available to the authorities."

      People need to realize that spreading knee-jerk misconceptions like this is damaging to Internet activism. You aren't helping the privacy cause by building up straw men instead of attacking the actual problematic stuff. The members of congress who support this legislation and the corporations backing them must be loving that so many people are ignoring them to instead focus on telling everyone how bad Schmidt and Google are.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 19, 2013 @12:45PM (#43494891)

    It's a publication. Assange reserved the right to view/review/approve the transcript and presumably is doing this for the benefit of both sides. It benefits Assange that he gets to publish the precise transcript to rebut any criticism that they talked about anything else. Schmidt gains the same protection (ZOMG Google Chief Talks To Known Criminal About... What?) and also some pre-launch publicity. This interview is presumably not the underpinning of his entire book, nor featured in entirety as an excerpt, so it's not a leak of the content of the book either.

  • by bayankaran (446245) on Friday April 19, 2013 @01:31PM (#43495307) Homepage
    Completed the first half of TFA. It is indeed fascinating.

    Fascinating to know Julian Assange...his technical know how and philosophical underpinnings make him one of the foremost thinkers of our world. The way Assange connects geo-political issues, the ideas behind publishing, instant publishing to the basic design of Wikileaks is brilliant. (We have to put aside his issues in Sweden.)

    Erich Schmidt comes across as a better version of Steve Ballmer. It would have been interesting if Larry Page / Sergey Brin had a conversation with Assange...they would be more interesting and the conversation would not be completely one sided.
    • by steelfood (895457)

      I think Schmidt was the perfect type of person to talk to him. Schmidt is on the edge of being technical, because he runs technology companies, but not so technical that he's fixated on just the technical aspects. And so this allows Assange to both explain the technical details in layman's terms, and to talk about non-technical things, which is his philosophy and his insights into the way the world works. Those stories that he drops here and there are great food for thought too.

      • by swillden (191260)

        Schmidt is on the edge of being technical, because he runs technology companies

        On the edge? He has a BS in Electrical Engineering from Princeton, and an MS and a PhD in Computer Engineering (EECS) from Berkeley. He also wrote non-trivial amounts of code for several years, including being a coauthor of lex (if you don't know what lex is, turn in your geek card).

        He's been primarily a businessman for quite a while now, but he didn't learn what he knows about technology by running technology companies.

        • Schmidt might have co-written Lex. But if you read TFA, you realize he does not even know TOR and the idea behind TOR - probably the most important invention in internet and communication methodologies. This is stupid.

          I guess Schmidt should turn in his geek card, and as a champion supporter you should also join.
          • by swillden (191260)

            TOR and the idea behind TOR - probably the most important invention in internet and communication methodologies

            The most important invention in Internet and communication methodologies? You've got to be kidding. It's neither new (I ran a Mixmaster anonymous remailer for years; same concept, just a higher level in the stack), nor particularly influential.

    • by elucido (870205)

      Completed the first half of TFA. It is indeed fascinating.

      Fascinating to know Julian Assange...his technical know how and philosophical underpinnings make him one of the foremost thinkers of our world. The way Assange connects geo-political issues, the ideas behind publishing, instant publishing to the basic design of Wikileaks is brilliant. (We have to put aside his issues in Sweden.)

      Erich Schmidt comes across as a better version of Steve Ballmer. It would have been interesting if Larry Page / Sergey Brin had a conversation with Assange...they would be more interesting and the conversation would not be completely one sided.

      His philosophical views are flawed. He bases his assumptions on assumptions. What has changed since the Cablegate leak? The answer is nothing. If anything they governments have cracked down harder. What good is the media if the media doesn't have any police powers or powers to arrest? So we find out that Silvio Berlusconi is accepting underage prostitution but what exactly was done about it? Governments abuse innocent people all the time and nothing is done about it because there is no police force with the

    • Hmmmm, those three groups are still from different fields; Politics, business, and technology. All three are forced to dable in each other's territory, but while Page and Brin would have more to say on the tech side, they wouldn't necessarily have anything more to say on politics.

      • by elucido (870205)

        Hmmmm, those three groups are still from different fields; Politics, business, and technology. All three are forced to dable in each other's territory, but while Page and Brin would have more to say on the tech side, they wouldn't necessarily have anything more to say on politics.

        I disagree. They support the Open agenda. That is all about politics, because being Open is a deeply philosophical and political decision.

  • It seems that Julian Assange is a hardcore Bitcoin fanboy... he spent about a third of his interview talking about it.

    That said, if he took his own advice and invested heavily in Bitcoin back in 2011 when they were less than a $1 each, he'd be a wealthy guy right now.

    • by Tynin (634655)

      It seems that Julian Assange is a hardcore Bitcoin fanboy... he spent about a third of his interview talking about it.

      That said, if he took his own advice and invested heavily in Bitcoin back in 2011 when they were less than a $1 each, he'd be a wealthy guy right now.

      Yes, you are very correct, at least as of May 13th 2012.

      Quantitative Analysis of the Full Bitcoin Transaction Graph [iacr.org] page 5
      --
      ...can estimate with our methodology that WikiLeaks owns at least 83 addresses, that it was involved in at least 1088 transactions, and that it had an accumulated income in all these addresses of 2605.25 BTC's.
      --

    • What went wrong with Julian Assange is his implementation and his naive conceptualizations.

      The ideals are right, we do need a way to prevent human rights abuses, to save lives, to fight corruption. I just don't think Wikileaks is properly set up to do that.
      I don't think the media or journalists can do that. I think giving that information to the general public who is completely powerless and can do nothing to stop it doesn't really change a damn thing but it makes governments paranoid and makes them crack d

  • The way he insensately interrupts other people is beyond belief.

    • by admdrew (782761)

      To some degree, I read that as a product of this being a transcript of a conversation. It's tough to capture a conversational setting in writing (even good written dialogue rarely makes for realistic spoken conversation). Also, Schmidt actively pursued setting this meeting up to talk with Assange directly, and based on a lot of the informal banter during the conversation, it definitely seemed like no one minded about being interrupted.

      I was especially amused when Lisa Shields spilled water on her laptop, an

  • He assumes that journalism and the media can solve problems. This is a flaw because just revealing problems doesn't solve it and sometimes revealing problems causes only more problems.

    He assumes everyone can do something about the problems once they are revealed when in actuality only certain people can do anything about these sorts of problems.

    He assumes that information should be used to create just behavior but just behavior is subjective, and we cannot always agree on that.

    So perhaps he has the right in

  • Immeasurable impact on issues surrounding technology over recent years

    I suppose you could say that - I certainly haven't been able to measure the impact mr Assange has had on technology. He was in the news, but so were the "megastars" from Big Brothel. And like them, he has now faded away into obscurity.

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