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Julian Assange Says Google's Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen Are "Witch Doctors" 253

An anonymous reader writes "The Times publishes Assange's takedown of Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen. From the article: 'New Digital Age is a startlingly clear and provocative blueprint for technocratic imperialism, from two of its leading witch doctors, Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, who construct a new idiom for United States global power in the 21st century. This idiom reflects the ever closer union between the State Department and Silicon Valley, as personified by Mr. Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, and Mr. Cohen, a former adviser to Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton who is now director of Google Ideas.'"
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Julian Assange Says Google's Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen Are "Witch Doctors"

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  • great review (Score:5, Insightful)

    by silversoft ( 2716463 ) on Monday June 03, 2013 @09:40AM (#43895443)
    i think he might just be right... the world has already lost its privacy to google
  • Predictions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 03, 2013 @09:43AM (#43895489)

    A new “crop of consultants” will “use data to build and fine-tune a political figure.”

    Wait, that's in the future? Wasn't that the 2008 election?

  • Book review (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 03, 2013 @09:46AM (#43895517)

    In case it's not clear from the article, it's Assange doing a book review.

    "“The Future of Terrorism” gets a whole chapter. The future of terrorism, we learn, is cyberterrorism. A session of indulgent scaremongering follows, including a breathless disaster-movie scenario, wherein cyberterrorists take control of American air-traffic control systems and send planes crashing into buildings"

    Difficult to believe Schmidt put his name to that crap, there's no reason to open Air Traffic control to hackers.

    "The section on “repressive autocracies” describes, disapprovingly, various repressive surveillance measures: legislation to insert back doors into software to enable spying on citizens, monitoring of social networks and the collection of intelligence on entire populations. All of these are already in widespread use in the United States. In fact, 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. "

    Yeh CALEA and CALEA II coming soon. American.

    He pans the books.

    • Is that air traffic control doesn't actually control planes, pilots (and autopilots) do. ATC just gives them directions. However it turns out the pilots have eyes and can notice things like, say, a building. They don't just blindly steer their aircraft by the directions over the radio. So, even if hackers manages to hack the ATC system (which seems rather unlikely to anyone who's seen it), and even if they got the ground controllers to give out bad directions (remember it is humans giving out info on the ra

      • by sconeu ( 64226 )

        Didn't you watch 24???? Pilots are mindless idiots who slavishly follow directions from ground control, even to the point of colliding with other planes!

      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        There are people who blindly follow their GPS into a lake.

    • "Difficult to believe Schmidt put his name to that crap, there's no reason to open Air Traffic control to hackers."

      It's already almost unbelievably open to hackers. No "opening" is necessary.

      Even the fairly recent new plane tracking protocol has no encryption or security whatever. Anybody with a big directional antenna could send false data either to a plane or to "control". I mean, this is something a backyard hardware hacker, the electronics hobbyist equivalent of a "script kiddie", could do pretty easily these days.

    • ...there's no reason to open Air Traffic control to hackers.

      1. That's not how hacking works.
      2. It's already open.
      3. The reason it is open is because people thinking like you just did.

      Without a scheme like one-time pads or public-key cryptography and mandatory, regular infosec training you can impersonate someone or something that the pilot wants to listen to and influence their actions even to the extent that you are effectively controlling the plane. Then if you redirect a passenger jet over e.g. NK all sorts of hell would ensue. Maybe even another war, and when y

  • by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Monday June 03, 2013 @09:57AM (#43895601)

    As opposed to David Tennent , Matt Smith, and now John Hurt who are Who Doctors...

  • by houbou ( 1097327 ) on Monday June 03, 2013 @10:24AM (#43895835) Journal
    we can't be surprised when people in power want to attract other people in power. Sadly, it is how it goes, whether it is for the greater good or not.
  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Monday June 03, 2013 @10:36AM (#43895931) Homepage

    My friend the Google search, it taught me what to say
    My friend the Google search, it taught me what to do
    It knew what I would buy when said what I liked, by typing:

    Ooh, ee, ooh ah ah
    Ting tang walla-walla bing bang
    Ooh, ee, ooh ah ah
    Ting tang walla-walla bing bang

  • Don't upset a witch doctor.


  • The article subtitle beat me to the Dave Seville joke...

  • Google = NSA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 03, 2013 @11:51AM (#43896513)

    Those that study history have no doubt how the ruling elite operate, or the methods they use to control the populace. It is today no different from how it was three thousand years ago. The psychology of those that find themselves 'in charge' is an assumption that they are "god's chosen". Even today, in the USA, more than 50% of senior US politicians state that 'god' has given them their power to rule over others.

    Of course, the reality of the so-called ruling elites is one of being prepared to do whatever it takes to keep power, and wherever possible, to grow that power and pass it on to later generations of their same family/group. America, for instance, is on the verge of getting a second Clinton or a third Bush as supreme ruler.

    How do you control the masses? How do you keep the mob on a leash? How do you persuade the populace, year after year, to dedicate their lives to enriching and empowering the same tiny minority?

    -learn what the mob is thinking, in as close to real-time as possible
    -find the best ways to manipulate the opinions of the mob, especially their long term beliefs and aspirations
    -ensure the mob only ever hears control messages from the elites that rule them. Ensure the mob is trained to disregard messages from other sources
    -give the mob 'bread and circuses'. Let the mob feel self-empowered by participation in useless trivial events like organised religion, organised team sports, and harmless forms of self expression
    -exterminate or co-opt any emerging grass roots movements that could grown and threaten the power bases of the elites.

    Only a complete fool would fail to understand where Google fits with the above goals. The dream of computerised intelligence gathering on the general population began before the age of the electronic computer. When 'electronic brains' first appeared, the elites were massively disappointed with the end results of unthinkably expensive attempts to use computers to spy on the populace. Perversely, the fiction of powerful computers doing incredible things spread like wild-fire through the consciousness of ordinary people in the 50s and 60s, but as we know the reality was far different.

    The original Google project was predicated on the availability of vast amounts of cheap commodity hard-drive storage and processing power. It looked at the NSA desire to spy on the entire Human population from a very different POV. It also took account of the fact that official government IT projects (even when secret) would always fall prey to mega-corruption and complete-incompetence as a consequence. The psychology of successful IT ambitions was being made apparent by the incredible growth of the Internet.

    Google gives people useful/entertaining/addicting toys like search, Youtube, Gmail and Android. Each of these toys monitors, and encourages users to provide ever greater amounts of information about themselves to monitor.

    Google also provides the infrastructure (hardware and software models) that are used by the intelligence agencies of the 'West' to store and mine the information they gather. These are shadow-Google installations, built and run by people directly employed by intelligence agencies like the NSA, but based on current designs used by Google itself.

    Google, as you should know, makes a lot of money from mining its data and using the results for advertising. What few of you realise is that this business is a deliberate side-effect of Google researching and developing mining algorithms for the NSA.

    Today, when you vote Republican or Democrat in the USA, you get exactly the same mid/long term policies, and exactly the same program of rolling wars. In the UK, you can vote Labour, Liberal or Conservative, but still experience the exact agenda Tony Blair laid down for the UK when that monster first rose to visible power. The elites don't even have to bother maintaining even the illusion of a choice, largely thanks to Google.

    The people that run Google think that they are superior to you, and therefore their will matters, and you will does not. I hate to tell you this, but the crud that desires to rule over others always has this attitude. And when you do nothing but lay down and accept the abuse, this abusive attitude grows exponentially.

  • Who else would be brave enough to take on the American and Euro spooks and hope to get away with it? At least he stil has a bit of a life left, though highly restricted.
  • 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.

    He's right about that. Schmidt's vision of the future is indeed banal. People still wear suits, go to offices, and make presentations. But they get there in self-driving cars and the presentation technology is better. That's the "vision" in his book. It's rather 1950s.

  • Are Schmidt and Cohen drinking their own Kool-Aid?

    Well, I guess it's good for business. That tends to happen in such situations.
  • by degeneratemonkey ( 1405019 ) on Monday June 03, 2013 @12:47PM (#43897335)
    He's wrong. The technocratic imperialism part is accurate, in a sense.

    The notion that it is centered around a specific culture confined to a specific nation-state is not. He seems to be blinded by his disdain for America, when in fact his alleged adversaries are politically ambivalent outside of their concern for policy that impacts their own state-independent agenda.

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan