WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has co-authored a book arguing that the world is at a pivotal decision: Whether the Internet will free us, or enslave us. Assange, famous for his ‘hacktivism,’ used a decidedly low-tech medium for his latest polemic.
Titled ‘Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet,’ the book is partially based on RT’s ‘The World Tomorrow’ television series. In several episodes, Assange interviewed his co-authors, Jacob Applebaum of the US, Jeremie Zimmermann of France and Andy Müller-Maguhn of Germany.
The book describes cypherpunks as advocates of citizens using cryptography to secure their electronic communications from both government and corporate spying. In the book, they discuss how the Internet can be both an instrument of freedom and oppression.
‘Cypherpunks’ examines issues like government and corporate online surveillance, the filesharing phenomenon and attempts to curb it with anti-piracy laws, and how users have become willing collaborators with those who collect their personal data.
The authors claim that the world is witnessing a pivotal conflict over whether “electronic communications will emancipate or enslave us,” the book’s New York-based independent publisher OR Books said.
Assange previously authored several essays and researched material for his 1997 book ‘Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier,’ which followed the exploits of an international group of hackers.
‘Cypherpunks’ was published despite the fact that Assange is still holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy, which granted him asylum in August.
The WikiLeaks founder requested asylum to avoid being extradited to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over allegations of sex crimes. He believes that he would be re-extradited to the US after arriving in Sweden, and then put on trial for his publication of classified US diplomatic cables. Assange has expressed concern that he would be sentenced to an unjustly long prison term, or even death, in the US.