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When Google Met Wikileaks

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  631 ratings  ·  73 reviews
When Google Met WikiLeaks presents the story of Assange and Schmidt's encounter. Both fascinating and alarming, it contains extensive, new material, written by Assange specifically for this book, providing the best available summary of his vision for the future of the Internet.

The book also includes an edited transcript of the conversation with Schmidt in which
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Paperback, 1st edition, 223 pages
Published July 2014 by OR Books (first published 2014)
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Gabit
Sep 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
At one point in the book Assange mentions that a new kind of journalism, which will be based on citations as in science, is necessary. This book, though merely a transcript of a conversation, is superbly/scientifically referenced and demonstrates Assange's commitment to "doing things". Must read for anyone who is interested in the past, present and future of the internet. Assange has a lot more things to say from his asylum than we do from our offices.
Roman
Dec 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A chilling, scrupulously documented book that exposes Google's close ties with the U.S. government (including the NSA and State Department) and the tech company's dystopian vision for a "new world order". It buries the lie that Google is a benign corporation run by a group of extremely wealthy but essentially well-intentioned libertarian tech geeks who "do no evil".

The bulk of this short book is a transcript of a 2011 interview Julian Assange gave to Eric Schmidt and a few of his fellow Google
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Michal
Oct 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
How about reading a book nearly nobody wants to endorse?
It could mean that the book is:
A) Very very very poor and uninteresting.
B) It is actually so revealing for the digital media world that online publishers are afraid of supporting it by adding it to their online store repertoire.(Including a missing Kindle version in Amazon Shop and the paper version that has the front cover "adjusted" to a completely different, uninteresting looks (and price) than what Julian had wished fo
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Mat
Sep 09, 2014 rated it liked it
When Google CEO Eric Schmidt turned up to meet WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, he brought several people with him who were connected to the US government.
"The delegation was one part Google, three parts US foreign-policy establishment," Assange writes in his latest book, When Google Met WikiLeaks. "But I was still none the wiser."
The three were Schmidt's then-partner Lisa Shields, a vice president of the Council on Foreign Relations; Scott Malcomson, a long-time member of the Counc
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Soham Chakraborty
[Initial review - more to be added later]

Before we start, please indulge in this -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rXPr...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTV_V...

We have read books that cause hairs stand on end, we have read books where reading the book seems like an act of sheer thrill and excitement. We have also read books where the protagonist's life story causes the reader to look at the sky and wonder 'now, this fella is onto something'. Now what happens when you read
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Kevin
We all see the consumer-facing side of Google, with its tongue-in-cheek motto of "Don't be evil", but how do we then comprehend the entanglement between this corporate behemoth and the US military surveillance complex?

The convergence of Centrism, Liberalism, and Imperialism:
--This book's 2nd half is the transcript of then-Google CEO Eric Schmidt and then-Google Ideas (think tank) CEO Jared Cohen preparing chapters of their book "The New Digital Age" by interviewing Assange on Wikileaks' social purpose a/>The
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Duncan
Sep 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a small book but it offers plenty of room to look into the sophisticated mind of Julian Assange. To read it is like removing a brick from an enormous clock tower and peering through to watch the writhing mass of glistening wheels and cogs turn overhead in mesmerising synchronisation.

While the main focus is his meeting with Eric Schmidt, I think the three essays that accompany this book - Beyond Good And "Don't Be Evil", The Banality Of "Don't Be Evil", and Deliver Us From "Don't Be Evil
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Sudheer Madhava
Nov 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I highly recommend reading this book. The efforts of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks to drag modern civilization away from sliding into an Orwellian nightmare deserve widespread praise and support. While the reading is slightly technical at times, there is no denying the fact that this is among the clearest insights into how large and universally familiar corporations like Google and powerful governments collude and use lies, threats and deceit against those trying to expose them of their manipulat ...more
Enso
Aug 24, 2014 rated it liked it
This was a little bit of a slog. It is largely a transcript of a meeting over a day by Eric Schmidt of Google, Julian Assange of Wikileaks, and some other parties that came with Schmidt. It was published as a rebuttal to what Assange saw as a self-serving use of this interview and its transcript by Schmidt in his recent manifesto of the coming years and technology. Assange felt that what he was told the interview about was predicated on falsehoods and went wound up in print was effectively half- ...more
Vince
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book. It's mainly a transcript of a conversation between Julian Assange and senior representatives of google. That may not sound doesn't particularly interesting but both the conversation itself and the context provided are fascinating. The main point of the book is to show the hopeless entanglement of google - one of the largest companies and stores of human data - with security state apparatus. The google representatives are at least partially blind to the extent of this i ...more
Sambasivan
Sep 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Intellectually stimulating discussion between Eric Schmidt and Jukian Assange (who was under house arrest). Extremely topical issues on what is the people's right to know about things and how far one can go to make this possible. Julian Assange has been a crusader of sorts in this mission, where for him, it appears that the end justifies the means even if there is collateral murder. Though I may not personally agree with this ethos, nevertheless a well argued book both from the technical as well ...more
Shannon McMahon
Nov 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting look at possible technological future players, the governmental indoctrination of Google, and the fear of transparency.
Malachy
Jan 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Excellent book. And inspiring to see the kind of courage demonstrated by WikiLeaks and their ilk. And even more inspiring to see that, despite the behemoths and disturbing budgets of US and other intelligence agencies, we have smart people fighting back, shoving unwanted transparency down the throats of the world's major government bullies (the US, Britain and China, among others). A bonus for anyone of a technical bent is that the book provides a basic overview of the kind of cat and mouse game ...more
Alex S
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Given its late I'll be brief.

The discussion of wiki leaks and Google, what both stand for and what each understands the other to be, is very interesting. Wiki leaks considers itself an agent of change, whereas Google believes that Wiki leaks should leave the brokerage of such power to the state. Perhaps both ideas have their merits and demerits.

It gives a very interesting insight into how Assange views the world. Some of the theories, e.g. that the propagation of disinfor
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Aravind Vivekanandan
The best portions in the book are the ones in which Assange talks about an overhaul of the URL naming system and replacing it with one in which the tampering of information will be more difficult, the discussions on the physical and ethical consequences of 'total publishing' and the preface by Assange where he challenges the 'benevolent tech empire' image that Google puts on. The talks about how the internet affected the uprisings in the middle east and the need for decentralisation in internet ...more
Hrishikesh
Oct 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Engaging. Rewarding. But the adjective I'd use above all else - stimulating. Will be putting up a detailed thought-note on the blog, as and when possible. It's not a very long book - on a good day, would've taken an hour or so.

The single most profound essay that I've read so far is Vaclav Havel's "Power of the Powerless". This book is definitely not an equivalent, but would be in the same league - at least if it were not for the apologetic note that is struck in the concluding notes.

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K
Feb 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Despite the extensive gloss (often more than half the page!), I still struggled to understand the engineering and computing in this book, so I can't really comment on the technical aspects. However, getting an inside to the philosophy and goals behind Wikileaks was really fascinating. Assange comes across as a very intelligent, inspiring, and altruistic figure, which is very different to all the pictures I've seen painted of him (traitor, rapist, etc). Very interesting insight to two organisatio ...more
Onyango Makagutu
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
While this is the first book I have read on Assange or rather by Assange, I am inclined to believe in the cause he is fighting.
It is quite revealing that Google and Facebook, internet giants, seem unable or unwilling to fight 4th amendment violation by the us government and that their executives are somewhat embedded into the system that it's like they are quasi government helping the government in setting up a spy network of a gigantic scale.
It's a worth the time spent reading it.
Luca
Nov 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
interesting point of view about Google
bitmaid
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Julian "Master Shit-Stirrer" Assange is one of the most articulate living figures I have ever come across. His thoughts are lucid and easy to follow. I would remember all the examples he used in the interview, the pyramid of censorship, Stanford in the 70s, simulated annealing etc. What more can you ask for in a deep & wide conversation?

While JA is answering all the questions with (mostly) well reasoned words, Eric Schmidt is busy looking like an arrogant retard. I can't believe
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Jared Levine
Oct 24, 2016 rated it liked it
It's hard to craft a review of this book, without fear that google will increase its surveillance of me.

Often times, I am skeptical of the internet. I feel often that there is a corporate underpinning to mega-sites like Google, that has to be tied to power in the real world, a power which intertwines itself with the political sanctions that dominate the "free" world. I no longer feel a sense of privacy at all when browsing the internet. I often feel forced to navigate in the world as part
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Rolland
Nov 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
There is no denying that Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are important, even transformative, figures in our modern techno-driven world. In many ways, Assange embodies the disruptive capability of the internet; by creating a haven and megaphone for whistleblowers and revealing secret digital information, he has built a reputation as a renegade and threat to state power.

When Google Met Wikileaks is Assange's book on his encounter and conversation with Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, and three of Schmidt's/>When
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Saravana Kumar
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before reading this book, I thought Julain Assange is some half-nut hacker who went rogue. How wrong was I! I have never met or heard of a wo/man with such a deep philosophical reasoning behind what s/he does. Assange is a scientific rebel- the scientist who goes out, does something and most importantly knows what he does.
I loved the style in which the book was written, citing every bit of information back to the source. In the book, he argues for scientific journalism and that is what this boo
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Koleś
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Short but very important book. Because it's important to be aware of what is actually happening behind the scenes of companies, to know that they can not be trusted, unfortunately. Just as corrupt politicians can not be trusted.

I like Julian's approach to good journalism, based on sources. I also like his technological ideas that would be good for fighting censorship.

Most interesting quotes:

The people at Stratfor, who liked to think of themselves as a sort of corporate CIA, w/>
The
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Karan
Jul 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dont get lost in the tech

This is a very exciting book that captures the discussion between Julian Assange and Eric Schmidt two of the most impactful men in technology.

The discussion is primarily from the perspective of Julian however he does cite and quote extensively giving firm sources.

The discussion on privacy, ethics and models of information are informative as well as practical.

The issue with the book is that sometimes it gets too technical for a non
...more
Ian Forsyth
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: activism
I couldn't finish reading the transcript, it just wasn't as interesting as Assange's overall take on Google at the start and other supplementary material. Main gist as I saw it: Google is in bed with aggressive US Foreign Policy and Surveillance Valley wants to become their own sort of branch of empire. "Don't be evil" is just Orwellian doublespeak.
Cathleen Davidson-Garcia
Worth reading

A book that describes the fight against censorship of the truth.
Anybody who believes that humanity as a whole should achieve greater development, greater happiness, and greater love for each other, will find Assange"s struggle heroic.
Ravibhushan Kumar
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
References provided within the books are very useful.
Roslyn
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Didn't expect much from this book, but it was fantastic. Super interesting. Always figured Google was most likely evil by now and yup ... but I had no idea just how evil. Fascinating.
gnarlyhiker
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
helluva read.

recommend documentary: Risk by Laura Poitras (2017)
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Julian Paul Assange is an Australian publisher, journalist, software developer and Internet activist. He is the founder, spokesperson, and editor in chief of WikiLeaks, a whistleblower website and conduit for worldwide news leaks, with the stated purpose of creating open governments. Assange has worked as a computer programmer and was a hacker during his youth. He has lived in several countries, a ...more
“There is an uncomfortable willingness among privacy campaigners to discriminate against mass surveillance conducted by the state to the exclusion of similar surveillance conducted for profit by large corporations. Partially, this is a vestigial ethic from the Californian libertarian origins of online pro-privacy campaigning. Partially, it is a symptom of the superior public relations enjoyed by Silicon Valley technology corporations, and the fact that those corporations also provide the bulk of private funding for the flagship digital privacy advocacy groups, leading to a conflict of interest.


At the individual level, many of even the most committed privacy campaigners have an unacknowledged addiction to easy-to-use, privacy-destroying amenities like Gmail, Facebook, and Apple products. As a result, privacy campaigners frequently overlook corporate surveillance abuses. When they do address the abuses of companies like Google, campaigners tend to appeal to the logic of the market, urging companies to make small concessions to user privacy in order to repair their approval ratings. There is the false assumption that market forces ensure that Silicon Valley is a natural government antagonist, and that it wants to be on the public’s side—that profit-driven multinational corporations partake more of the spirit of democracy than government agencies.


Many privacy advocates justify a predominant focus on abuses by the state on the basis that the state enjoys a monopoly on coercive force. For example, Edward Snowden was reported to have said that tech companies do not “put warheads on foreheads.” This view downplays the fact that powerful corporations are part of the nexus of power around the state, and that they enjoy the ability to deploy its coercive power, just as the state often exerts its influence through the agency of powerful corporations. The movement to abolish privacy is twin-horned. Privacy advocates who focus exclusively on one of those horns will find themselves gored on the other.”
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“The received wisdom in advanced capitalist societies is that there still exists an organic “civil society sector” in which institutions form autonomously and come together to manifest the interests and will of citizens. The fable has it that the boundaries of this sector are respected by actors from government and the “private sector,” leaving a safe space for NGOs and nonprofits to advocate for things like human rights, free speech, and accountable government.


This sounds like a great idea. But if it was ever true, it has not been for decades. Since at least the 1970s, authentic actors like unions and churches have folded under a sustained assault by free-market statism, transforming “civil society” into a buyer’s market for political factions and corporate interests looking to exert influence at arm’s length. The last forty years have seen a huge proliferation of think tanks and political NGOs whose purpose, beneath all the verbiage, is to execute political agendas by proxy.”
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