During an appearance on CNN Wednesday night, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange warned that mass surveillance was becoming a worldwide problem as technology progressed.
Assange told CNN host Erin Burnett that the Internet had become enmeshed in human civilization, giving governments and others an unprecedented ability to spy on individuals en masse.
“The new game in town is strategic surveillance,” he said. “It is cheaper now to intercept all communications in and out of the country, store it permanently than it is to simply go after one particular person.”
Assange also blasted the treatment of Army private Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of U.S. diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks. At a pre-trial hearing, Manning’s lawyers argued Wednesday that he was subjected to illegal punishment while in military custody.
“Over a nine month period, Bradley Manning was abused,” Assange said, noting the UN had investigated his treatment. “Why was he treated that way? Well, his lawyer and many others who followed the case argue it was to coerce him into a confession that would bring down me or bring down WikiLeaks.”
Assange refused to criticize Ecuador’s crack down on journalists, saying what was happening in that country was only a symptom of what was happening worldwide. He is currently residing in the Ecuadorean embassy in London to avoid being extradited to Sweden to face sexual assault charges. He claims the charges are false and politically-motivated.
Watch video, uploaded to YouTube by CNN, below: