Five-hour talk between Google's Schmidt, Wikileaks founder released

By on April 19, 2013, 1:00 PM

Wikileaks has published a five-hour long conversation between former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Wikileaks' head man Julian Assange. The recording's rather timely release coincides with the launch of Schmidt's book, "The New Digital Age" which is slated to arrive next Tuesday.

For anyone who does not have five hours of time to set aside, Wikileaks has also provided a transcript of the conversation. 

Inside, readers (and listeners) will find a highly varied conversation full of small talk and opinions covering everything from securely signing files to how BitCoin works to the Arab Spring.

In addition to Julian Assange (JA) and Eric Schmidt (ES), the wide-ranging discussion also includes comments by former secretary of state advisor (and co-author) Jared Cohen (JC) and Council on Foreign Relations' Lisa Shields (LS). Those initials are used in the transcript to identify which person is speaking, by the way.

During their talk, Schmidt told Assange he doesn't see the damage that Wikileaks has caused -- a criticism often voiced by the organization's opponents. He went on to indicate he's sympathetic to Wikileak's struggles.

Later, Assange suggests Wikileaks wouldn't be opposed to Google "leaking" some information about PATRIOT Act requests made to obtain user information.

Schmidt responded, "I've actually spent quite a bit of time on this question. Because I am in great trouble because I have given a series of criticisms about PATRIOT 1 and PATRIOT 2." 

Schmidt noted that such NSL requests are issued with gag orders, making it impossible to (legally) talk about them. "The answer is that the laws are quite clear about Google and the US. We couldn't do it. It would be illegal." he told Assange.

Interestingly, last month Google actually began reporting the number of national security letter requests it receives in its publicly available Transparency Report. However, to fend off legal concerns, Google only shares vague numerical ranges for NSLs and offers zero specifics on the requests themselves.




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