Jian Ghomeshi, host of the CBC radio program Q, had a wide-ranging interview with Julian Assange about his new book When Google Met WikiLeaks, about a two-day meeting he had with Google chairman Eric Schmidt in June 2011 during the time Assange was under house arrest in England.
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 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.
The interview also addresses other things, such as Assange’s “public image, accusations that he’s a terrorist, the sexual assault allegations against him and how his ongoing confinement has affected him personally.”