Assange warns US communications dominance threatens Latin America’s sovereignty

Assange warns US communications dominance threatens Latin America’s sovereignty
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has poignantly stated that the very sovereignty of Latin American and Caribbean nations has been compromised by a reliance on US-based telecommunications.

Speaking via videoconference to an audience at Uruguay’s University of the Republic, Assange pointed to Latin America’s dependency on hardware and traffic handling by the United States as a source of vulnerability to monitoring by overzealous intelligence agencies, including the CIA, NSA and FBI. The world-famous whistleblower has been living in Ecuador’s London embassy for the past year under the auspices of political asylum.

“The penetration of the internet in all facets of society, substituting traditional mail and telephone and even physical interaction between individuals has placed in the hands of the US information provided by telecoms for the majority of humanity,” said the author of“Criptopunks,”his latest book to be published.

Assange pointed to the growing prevalence of social networking and products offered by companies such as Google as another potential concern for Latin Americans.

“The countries of Latin America are uploading profiles of their citizens, unknowingly, in computer systems within huge servers in California, controlled by Google, Facebook, Yahoo and others. These are directly or indirectly controlled by mechanisms, both legal or otherwise, via intelligence services of the United States and peripheral organizations,” he said.

The remarks made by Assange to his audience in Montevideo, were published widely by many Spanish-language newspapers in the region, and included what seemed to be a veiled jab at recent revelations that the US Department of Justice had conducted widespread phone surveillance on the Associated Press.

Students of the Psychology Faculty in Montevideo attend a teleconference with WikiLeaks founder, Australian Julian Assange, who is presently a refugee at the Ecuadorean embassy in london, on May 15, 2013 in Montevideo. (AFP Photo / Miguel Rojo)

The government of the US “has not demonstrated scruples in following its own laws in intercepting these [phone] lines to spy even on its own citizens,” remarked Assange.

He added that in the US there “did not exist” laws that impeded the US from “spying on citizens of foreign countries.”

The US National Security Agency “receives and processes” millions of communications, according to Assange, and the agency boasts a budget “greater than the FBI and the CIA combined.”

Assange warned the audience in Montevideo that, with the use of Google, Facebook and other new trends, there’s a massive privacy threat, to an extent that would have only been the stuff of science fiction not long ago.