“Governments have the responsibly to uphold rights, governments themselves have no rights” — Assange
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been out of the limelight for some time. Assange has avoided arrest while being tucked away in Ecuador’s embassy in London after given political asylum following the international controversy surrounding Wikileaks publications of classified government documents.
In this morning’s CBS interview with Assange concerning Bradley Manning‘s case and Wikileak’s role his trial , the Australian editor took the opportunity and sounded off on the recent controversial reveal of massive U.S. government operations that mine phone data and monitor Internet activity of millions of Americans . Assange referred to the government’s secret intelligence operation as “mass spying on Americans.” He continued to explain that, “People have a right to understand what the government is doing in their name now of course we permit government to do all sorts of things but when its done properly there is a law and people are aware of what the law is.” Assange was promptly cut off by show hosts.
What Assange was referring to was the details of a shocking report that reveals a secret government program, code-named PRISM, which has been spying on millions of Americans by tapping into 9 US Internet companies including Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Dropbox. Meanwhile the government has justified the use of said intelligence programs stating that it will help prevent terrorist attacks. In a press conference today Obama has said that ,” You cant have 100% security with 100% privacy…we are going to have to make some choices as a society.” Now questions are surging whether the FBI and NSA programs encroach on American’s rights to privacy.
WikiLeaks became internationally well known in 2010 when it began to publish U.S. military and diplomatic documents with assistance from its partners in the news media. Bradley Manning — a U.S soldier — has since been arrested on suspicion of supplying the cables to WikiLeaks. Manning is currently in trial facing capital offense. Assange dismissed the notion that Manning’s document leak threatened national security and endangered the lives of American soldiers and said he did not feel guilty that Assange may spend the rest of his life in jail.
Government spying and surveillance is no longer what it used to be. In a world where information, photos and conversations are being stored on the internet, privacy measures remain vague. What does the government have the right to see? How can you control what people can access? These are all questions which pertain to this generation where the internet has become an animal of its own.