Just got this press release in the mail from OR Books. Book to come this September. More here.
In June 2011, Julian Assange received an unusual visitor: The chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, together with an entourage of US State
Department alumni including a top former adviser to Hillary Clinton,
arrived from America at Ellingham Hall, the country residence in
Norfolk, England where Assange was living under house arrest.
For several hours the besieged leader of the world's most famous
insurgent publishing organization and the billionaire head of the
world's largest information empire locked horns. The two men debated the
political problems faced by human society, and the technological
solutions engendered by the global network from the Arab Spring to
Bitcoin. They outlined radically opposing perspectives: For Assange, the
liberating power of the Internet is based on its freedom and
statelessness. For Schmidt, emancipation is at one with US foreign
policy objectives and is driven by connecting non-Western countries to
American companies and markets. These differences embodied a tug-of-war
over the Internet's future that has only gathered force subsequently.
Assange proposes a radical overhaul of the
naming structure of the Internet, one which would revolutionize the way
information is accessed. By coupling the intellectual content of a
document to its online namedoing away with the haphazard URL
system, Assange outlines a potential future for the Internet that would
make it faster and much more difficult to censor.
Schmidt’s contribution equates progress with the geographic expansion of
Google, supported by the US State Department. In cutting prose, Assange
denounces this world-view as "technocratic imperialism" and offers a
stringent critique of its methods, goals and effects.
These are vital counterpoints for anyone interested in where the
Internetand by extension human civilizationis heading. The difference
between the paths taken by Assange and Schmidt was illustrated
subsequently by their responses to the Snowden disclosures: while
WikiLeaks aided the whistleblower's escape, Google scrambled to manage a
public relations backlash after the revelation that it had taken money
from the NSA to process spying requests from the US government.
In June 2011, the North and South poles of the Internet came together
in the English countryside for an historic dialogue. This extraordinary
book tells the story of that unlikely encounter, and its significance
for us all.