But having believed Schmidt to be “a brilliantly but politically hapless Californian tech billionaire”, Assange concedes “I was wrong”. He had not appreciated the Google chief’s relationship with the US government, including the National Security Agency (NSA). The penny dropped when Wikileaks formally warned the State Department of its publication of cables and received an email response from Lisa Shields who, as Schmidt’s partner, attended the Ellingham Hall interview. “At this point I realized Eric Schmidt might not have been an emissary of Google alone,” claims Assange.

He acknowledges that the Internet giant began with a “decent, humane and playful culture” and is still widely-seen as “a magical engine”.

But after reading The New Digital Age he decided that Google’s aim was to “position itself as America’s geopolitical visionary”. Angry, he wrote a disparaging review in the New York Times headlined “The Banality of Don’t Be Evil” (after Google’s ‘Don’t Be Evil’ slogan). Four days later, Snowden made his revelations of the NSA’s accessing of Google data.

Read the full review in The Independent.

Verified by MonsterInsights