Recently, on the occasion of a WikiLeaks-hosted conference call to mark his one-year anniversary in the embassy, Assange was asked by a reporter whether his ability to work had been hindered by his confinement. Assange said that of course confinement made some things more difficult, but “that is contrasted by my complete inability to do anything else but work.”

And work he has. The physical Assange may be restricted to a few hundred square feet of real estate, but his avatar and his organization remain actively engaged with the world. It has been a very busy year. In September 2012, Assange addressed the United Nations via satellite, urging the U.S. to end what he calls its persecution of Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks. In November, he released a book, Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet, based on a lengthy conversation between himself and several Internet activists from around the world who, like Assange, consider themselves part of the cypherpunk movement. (The movement grew out of hacker culture and advocates using strong encryption codes to ward off government surveillance; it has promoted civil disobedience to advance the cause of privacy.) Cypherpunks opens with characteristic understatement: “This book is not a manifesto,” Assange writes. “There is not time for that. This book is a warning.” He and his three collaborators—Jacob Appelbaum, a vocal supporter of WikiLeaks; Andy Müller-Maguhn, a member of the hacker association Chaos Computer Club, in Berlin; and Jérémie Zimmermann, the spokesperson for and co-founder of the Paris-based La Quadrature du Net, a French Internet-advocacy group—discuss the importance of keeping the Internet free from government intrusion. The book depicts Facebook and Google as part of “the greatest surveillance machine that ever existed” and describes a world spiraling toward a “new transnational dystopia.”

Read the full article at Vanity Fair.

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