Julian Assange tells SXSW audience: ‘NSA has grown to be a rogue agency’

julian_assange

The Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on Saturday told an audience in Texas that people power is the key to rolling back the power of the National Security Agency and other surveillance agencies.

“We have to do something about it. All of us have to do something about it,” he said, in an interview at the SXSW conference in Austin. “How can individuals do something about it? Well, we’ve got no choice.”

Assange was speaking in a “virtual” conversation conducted by video from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been confined since June 2012. The NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and former Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald will appear in similar sessions over the coming days.

Interviewed by Benjamin Palmer of the marketing agency the Barbarian Group, Assange discussed issues including government surveillance, online democracy and the future of the internet.

On life within the embassy, he said: “It is a bit like prison. Arguably prison is far worse in relation to restrictions on visitors, for example, and the level of bureaucracy involved.” Noting that at any given point there are about a dozen police officers stationed outside, he said: “The UK government has admitted to spending $8m so far just on the police surveillance of the embassy.”

Asked for his views on what governments should be doing, after the NSA revelations, about the way surveillance agencies interact with people, Assange said: “The NSA has grown to be a rogue agency. It has grown to be unfettered … the ability to surveil everyone on the planet is almost there, and arguably will be there within a few years. And that’s led to a huge transfer of power from the people..

Read more; http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-57620081-83/wikileaks-julian-assange-nsa-critics-got-lucky-because-agency-had-no-pr-strategy/