While the 2011 meeting predated Snowden’s leaks, much of the writing has benefited from a post-Snowden perspective, an advantage Assange has over Schmidt’s early 2013 book, which came out just weeks before Snowden’s leaks began. As Assange repeatedly points out, Schmidt and his co-author make bogus predictions about how the future of whistleblowing in America will fade away.

Ever since Snowden shone sunlight on the American surveillance apparatus, Assange has had to deal with considerably less accusations of outright paranoia. The accusations of mad pessimism seem to have dropped off slightly as well.

“Populations basically don’t like wars and have to be lied into it,” Assange said. “That means we can be ‘truthed’ into peace. That is cause for great hope.”

At its most optimistic and convincing, Assange’s book gives a detailed outline of how he sees the Internet being used in an ideal world: An anti-surveillance, anti-censorship, anti-establishment tool that can fend off the advances of even the rich and powerful; a way to bring transparency and progress to power centers around the globe.

Valiant as it may be, that mission’s success may depend on whether anyone bothers to read the footnotes.

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