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The Banality of ‘Don’t Be Evil’
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By JULIAN ASSANGE Published: June 1, 2013
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FACEBOOK “THE New Digital Age” is a startlingly clear and provocative blueprint for technocratic imperialism, from two of its leading witch doctors, Eric Schmidt and TWITTER Jared Cohen, who construct a new idiom for United States global GOOGLE+ power in the 21st century. This idiom reflects the ever closer union SAVE between the State Department and Silicon Valley, as personified by E-MAIL Mr. Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, and Mr. Cohen, a former adviser to Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton who is now SHARE director of Google Ideas. PRINT
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The authors met in occupied Baghdad in 2009, when the book was conceived. Strolling among the ruins, the two became excited that consumer technology was transforming a society
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com/2013/06/02/opinion/sunday/the-banality-of-googles-dont-be-evil. YOUR MONEY Fired for Being Gay? Protections Are Piecemeal Log in to discover more articles based on what you‘ve read. quite extraordinarily. an attempt by Google to position itself as America’s geopolitical visionary — the one company that can answer the question “Where should America go?” It is not surprising that a respectable cast of the world’s most famous warmongers has been trotted out to give its stamp of approval to this enticement to Western soft power. Read All Comments (81) » flattened by United States military occupation. They dismiss the Egyptian youth witheringly. AT WAR The book proselytizes the role of technology in reshaping the world’s people and nations into likenesses of the world’s dominant superpower. TELEVISION REVIEW Gay.nytimes. “The New Digital Age” is. What’s This? | Don’t Show Ads by Google what's this? 2013 Top 10 PPC Mgmt Review Latest PayPerClick Software Report Before You Make Decision. anticorruption activists in San Salvador and illiterate Masai cattle herders in the Serengeti are all obediently summoned to demonstrate the progressive properties of Google phones jacked into the informational supply chain of the Western empire. Business-Software. In the book the authors happily take up the white geek’s burden. director Michael Hayden provided advance praise for the book. It is a major declaration designed to foster alliances.NYTimes. Google will interpose itself. whether they want to be reshaped or not. It pretends. urban professionals sleep.” and other “sophisticated diagnostics” will be used to “assess the weak parts of his political repertoire. Universities 7. the result. beyond anything else. A new “crop of consultants” will “use data to build and fine-tune a political figure.” Digitally inspired mobs mean revolutions will be “easier to start” but “harder to finish. Already. They say there will be “no more springs” (but China is on the ropes). which has liberated so many from United States- Why Haven't the Marines Shown Stronger Support for Women? 8. It avoids meaningful criticism of Israel and Saudi Arabia. young. will be coalition governments that descend into autocracies. democracy is insidiously subverted by technologies of surveillance. Kissinger tells the authors.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 Page 2 of 5 . The authors offer an expertly banalized version of tomorrow’s world: the gadgetry of decades hence is predicted to be much like what we have right now — only cooler. “Progress” is driven by the inexorable spread of American consumer technology over the surface of the earth. and our present world order of systematized domination. and hence the United States government. hypothetical dark-skinned worthies appear: Congolese fisherwomen. The prose is terse. The authors are sour about the Egyptian triumph of 2011. or so Mr. that the Latin American sovereignty movement. unmentioned. Hispanic. MODERN LOVE A Choice Not as Easy as It Looked 9. The acknowledgments give pride of place to Henry Kissinger. A liberal sprinkling of convenient. They decided the tech industry could be a powerful agent of American foreign policy. Commodities just become more marvelous.” The book mirrors State Department institutional taboos and obsessions.I. Adoptive: A Triple-Threat Family 10. another million or so Google-run mobile devices are activated. and control is enthusiastically rebranded as “participation”.A. work and shop with greater ease and comfort. The authors fantasize about the future of “well resourced” revolutionary groups. unafflicted or only faintly perturbed. between the communications of every human being not in China (naughty China). graphic designers in Botswana.” “His” speeches (the future isn’t all that different) and writing will be fed “through complex feature-extraction and trend-analysis software suites” while “mapping his brain function.The Banality of ‘Don’t Be Evil’ by Julian Assange . But this isn’t a book designed to be read. who along with Tony Blair and the former C.” Because of the absence of strong leaders.com/FreeReport http://www.com 6/3/13 9:59 AM Readers shared their thoughts on this article. every day. the argument confident and the wisdom — banal. intimidation and oppression continues. claiming that “the mix of activism and arrogance in young people is universal.
The advance of information technology epitomized by Google heralds the death of privacy for most people and shifts the world toward authoritarianism. much less to express.com/2013/06/02/opinion/sunday/the-banality-of-googles-dont-be-evil.nytimes. Despite accounting for an infinitesimal fraction of violent deaths globally. which started out as an expression of independent Californian graduate student culture — a decent. monitoring of social networks and the collection of intelligence on entire populations. They borrow from William Dobson the idea that the media.” the book can’t see Latin America for Cuba.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 Page 3 of 5 . of course. including a breathless disaster-movie scenario. Cohen tell us that the death of privacy will aid governments in “repressive autocracies” in “targeting their citizens. No one doubts the chilling effects of the investigations into The Associated Press and Fox’s James Rosen. Bradley Manning. never happened. “allows for an opposition press as long as regime opponents understand where the unspoken limits are. THE writing is on the wall. In fact. we learn. from the State Department to the National Security Agency.” they tell us. Schmidt and Mr. but the authors cannot see it. But there has been little analysis of Google’s role in complying with the Rosen subpoena.com 6/3/13 9:59 AM backed plutocracies and dictatorships over the last 30 years. the book frets theatrically over Washington’s favorite boogeymen: North Korea and Iran.NYTimes. disapprovingly. and so “The Future of Terrorism” gets a whole chapter. This book is a balefully seminal work in which neither author has the language to see. I have personal experience of these trends. as it encountered the big. shutting down power grids and launching nuclear weapons. the erosion of individual privacy in the West and the attendant centralization of power make abuses inevitable. All of these are already in widespread use in the United States.The Banality of ‘Don’t Be Evil’ by Julian Assange . wherein cyberterrorists take control of American air-traffic control systems and send planes crashing into buildings. “technology and cybersecurity companies will be to the 21st. faces a 12-week trial beginning tomorrow. thrown its lot in with traditional Washington power elements. in an autocracy.” Without even understanding how. is cyberterrorism.” In reality. the titanic centralizing evil they are constructing.” But these trends are beginning to emerge in the United States.” One alleged source. The future of terrorism. Google. imagine http://www. various repressive surveillance measures: legislation to insert back doors into software to enable spying on citizens. with 24 prosecution witnesses expected to testify in secret. The section on “repressive autocracies” describes. “Cypherpunks. bad world. Referring instead to the region’s “aging leaders. humane and playful culture — has. And. owners. some of those measures — like the push to require every social-network profile to be linked to a real name — were spearheaded by Google itself.” But while Mr.” they also say governments in “open” democracies will see it as “a gift” enabling them to “better respond to citizen and customer concerns. If you want a vision of the future. Court testimony states that its targets include “the founders. moving the “good” societies closer to the “bad” ones. terrorism is a favorite brand in United States policy circles. “What Lockheed Martin was to the 20th century. The Department of Justice admitted in March that it was in its third year of a continuing criminal investigation of WikiLeaks. This is the principal thesis in my book. they have updated and seamlessly implemented George Orwell’s prophecy. I have a very different perspective. This is a fetish that must also be catered to. or managers of WikiLeaks. A session of indulgent scaremongering follows. The authors then tar activists who engage in digital sit-ins with the same brush.
” A version of this op-ed appeared in print on June 2.COM BUSINESS » BOOKS » SPORTS » OPINION » BUSINESS » OPINION » Washington Talk Isn’t Always Cheap The murky enterprise of harvesting what is called nonpublic information needs to be brought under control.nytimes. ALL READER PICKS NYT PICKS Newest Comments Closed Get Free E-mail Alerts on These Topics Computers and the Internet Cohen. Jared Ads by Google Schmidt. A Slip on Breaking News A Summer Reading List With a Green Thumb Roots in the Game Grow Strong in Georgia Google’s Washington Insider The Stone: Does Literary Fiction Make Us Better? © 2013 The New York Times Company Site Feedback Site Map Privacy Your Ad Choices Advertise Terms of Sale Terms of Service Work With Us RSS Help Contact Us http://www. But this is essential reading for anyone caught up in the struggle for the future. We Will Help You Save Time & Money. 2013.The Banality of ‘Don’t Be Evil’ by Julian Assange .com/2013/06/02/opinion/sunday/the-banality-of-googles-dont-be-evil. on page SR4 of the New York edition with the headline: The Banality of ‘Don’t Be Evil’. in view of one simple imperative: Know your enemy. Julian Assange is the editor in chief of WikiLeaks and author of “Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet.NYTimes. www.com 6/3/13 9:59 AM Washington-backed Google Glasses strapped onto vacant human faces — forever.com for just 99¢. not that they ever seem to need it.com INSIDE NYTIMES. SAVE E-MAIL SHARE Try unlimited access to NYTimes.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 Page 4 of 5 .JumpFly. Zealots of the cult of consumer technology will find little to inspire them here. SEE OPTIONS » 81 Comments Readers shared their thoughts on this article. In Favor of Politics. Eric E United States International Relations what's this? Don't Sign Up For AdWords Before You Check Out JumpFly.
com/2013/06/02/opinion/sunday/the-banality-of-googles-dont-be-evil.com 6/3/13 9:59 AM http://www.nytimes.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 Page 5 of 5 .NYTimes.The Banality of ‘Don’t Be Evil’ by Julian Assange .
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