Book deals giving readers an inside look at some of the most influential companies in Silicon Valley have been the norm for years, but content in two that were released last week are quickly skyrocketing to the top of the New York Times' Best Seller list, creating a verbal, virtual sparring match between WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange and Google Chairman Eric Schmidt.
Assange's book, When Google Met WikiLeaks, found its place on bookstore shelves Wednesday, the day after Schmidt's latest book, How Google Works.
The Huffington Post reports that in June 2011, Schmidt -- Google CEO at the time -- met Assange at a cottage in England for a long conversation. Schmidt may not have expected this, but Assange would use the conversation as material for a book of his own, per HuffPo reporter Ryan Grim. The book highlights Google's cooperative relationship with the U.S. government in terms of privacy, mass surveillance and Internet freedom.
It points back to Assange's allegations that Google collaborates with the National Security Administration (NSA). Schmidt appeared on ABC News last week calling Assange "very paranoid." Schmidt said "we have taken all of our data, all of our exchanges, and we fully encrypted them so no one can get them, especially the government."
Assange describes Schmidt as one who can make "lawyerly" statements. He calls it a matter of semantics. While Google claims it encrypts everything so the U.S. government cannot get to the data, Assange tells Grim: "He said quite deliberately that Google has started to encrypt exchanges of information -- and that's hardly true, but it has increased amount of encrypted exchanges. But Google has not been encrypting their storage information."
"Google's whole business model is predicated on Google being able to access the vast reservoir of private information collected from billions of people each day," Assange explains, suggesting that if Google can access it, then the U.S. government has the legal right to access it. This is what has been going on, he said.