Assange, NY forum talk Orwellian future, internet as 'suppression' tool
"We will see a situation that Sweden has had for more than a decade... which is everyone has a number, everyone's DNA is taken at birth, their DNA is encoded onto their identity documents or connected to it, to their tax records, to their credit report," Assange said.
The founder of the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks was speaking by video link to the Personal Democracy Forum, a New York-based annual conference that follows how the internet is changing politics, governance, and advocacy.
Our generation will be the last that gets to make the choice “whether we let the internet allow everybody to learn on Earth or we let it be used as a tool of suppression," Mishi Choudhary, Executive Director of Software Freedom Law Center responded.
In March, Assange predicted a bleak future for upcoming generations, saying that we are “moving into a new totalitarian world” as the NSA and GCHQ will soon have the ability to spy on the entire Earth, as their capabilities double almost every 18 months.
“The ability to surveil everyone on the planet is almost there, and arguably will be there in a few years,” he said, “And that’s led to a huge transfer of power from the people who are surveiled upon to those who control the surveillance complex. It’s an interesting postmodern version of power.”
Assange has been trapped at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he received political asylum in 2012 after Swedish authorities issued a warrant for his extradition. He is wanted in Sweden for questioning over allegations of the rape and sexual assault of two women. Assange has vehemently denied all the charges.
According to the WikiLeaks frontman, the accusations are politically motivated and Sweden will hand him over to the US if he is extradited.
Guarding the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where Assange has sought political asylum, has cost the Metropolitan Police £5.3 million ($9 million), as officers have had the place staked out around the clock since June 2012.
Meanwhile, in May new leaks revealed that Assange remains the target of “a multi-subject investigation” of the Department of Justice and the FBI.
The US Department of Justice opened an investigation into the activities of WikiLeaks in 2010 after it published US military and diplomatic documents leaked by Chelsea Manning (formerly PFC Bradley Manning) in Iraq. Manning has since been charged under the Espionage Act and sentenced to 35 years in prison.