Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks who has disclosed classified data about U.S. military and diplomatic efforts, said the group would be releasing a new batch of secret information.
Assange, speaking through a video feed Saturday to a crowd of more than 3,000 at the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas, said he wouldn’t share details about the timing or contents.
“I don’t think it’s right to give the perpetrator the heads up,” said Assange.
After years of celebrating startups with new social-networking tools for posting personal information, South by Southwest is taking a more critical look at the privacy consequences of sharing that data. Edward Snowden, the government contractor who leaked documents disclosing spying by the National Security Agency, speaks on Monday through a video link.
Assange, 42, said the disclosures about NSA spying are causing people to reassess the role of government in a world where more personal information is stored online. He said the U.S. agency is losing the public-relations battle since Snowden’s revelations about gathering data from companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple. The disclosures show a “military occupation” in the Internet’s “public space,” he said.
He said the release of classified information is critical to better understanding what the government is doing in secret.
Assange currently lives in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to avoid arrest in relation to a sexual assault investigation. He has denied the charges.
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said earlier that there needs to be a balance between transparency and security because the government information being disclosed could put lives at risk.