Julian Assange, editor-in-chief of controversial whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks, yesterday branded Facebook ‘the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented.
The accusation was made during an interview with Russia Today
, in which the Australian, who is currently fighting extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges, railed on Facebook and other large websites such as Google and Yahoo.
‘Here we have the world’s most comprehensive database about people,'
claimed Assange, 'their relationships, their names, their addresses, their locations and the communications with each other, their relatives, all sitting within the United States, all accessible to US intelligence
Assange goes on to claim that Facebook and other online services have built in back door interfaces, allowing US officials to access data easily and without a subpoena, rather than dealing with individual requests from intelligence services.
Facebook, Google and Yahoo were all named by Assange as organisations that have the aforementioned back door interfaces. 'It’s not a matter of serving a subpoena,
' says Assange. 'They have an interface that they have developed for US intelligence to use. It’s costly for them to hand out records one by one, so they have automated the process.'
He also warned that anyone who adds their friends to Facebook should understand that 'they are doing free work for United States intelligence agencies in building this database for them.
None of the major players named by Assange have responded to the accusations levelled at them yet, but they're likely to resent the implication that they share users' information freely with US intelligence agencies.
Is Facebook an all-you-can-eat buffet for US intelligence agencies, or is Assange just pointing fingers for the sake of grabbing some headlines? Let us know your thoughts in the forums