Julian Assange Likens Security Reporters to Refugees in SXSW Interview

Speaking on Skype from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Julian Assange interacted with a crowd of SXSW festival attendees today in Austin regarding the NSA, Barack Obama's weak policies on civilian privacy, and the frailty of security reporting.

With an apparently shoddy connection that Assange joked was due to "low-quality surveillance," the interview was conducted by viewers texting questions to a moderator that then filtered through to Assange. The Wikileaks founder's talk was attended by over 3,000 people, and his remarks were typically pejorative, though vague.

On the subject of national security reporters, Assange commented,

"National security reporters are the new refugee. I see this as quite a positive phenomenon where people would have been completely crushed and not able to work anymore, they are able to use basic tenets of classic liberalism such as freedom of movement . . . to keep working."

Assange's comments on the NSA are more of the same chatter the security radical has given before.

"The NSA has grown to be a rogue agency. It has grown to be unfettered . . . the ability to surveil everyone on the planet is almost there, and arguably will be there within a few years. And that's led to a huge transfer of power from the people who are surveilled upon, to those who control the surveillance complex."

Assange also added that, "whenever you start to engage in any space, you run into state powers, you run into the deep state."

Edward Snowden and journalist Glenn Greenwald will speak in separate talks to audiences at the tech and music festival this week, with Snowden dialing in from Russia.

[Image via AP]