Category Archives: Book hacking

Assange transcript follow-up

I was generally pleased with the reaction I got last week when I published the full transcript of my interview with Julian Assange at the Chaos Communications Congress in 2009. The first surprise was that Wikileaks let their ~1m Twitter followers know about it, which I decided to interpret as a clue that the views Julian expressed during the interview – on the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, for example – might not have changed all that much in the intervening years.

Politico.com, The Washington Post and the International Business Times all published stories referencing the transcript, my thanks to Heather Brooke for pointing out the WaPo story, which I’d originally missed, when I saw her at the book’s launch party. Predictably, they all went for the NOTW angle. By contrast Jonathan Kent, a freelance journalist and broadcaster with several years reporting from the Far East under his belt, took objection to the perceived labelling of Raja Petra by Assange as a “real journalist” in this appropriately headstrong post.

I’m grateful to the Anonymous commenter who let me know that the interview was not the first time Assange had made his views on the NOTW hacking scandal clear, pointing to a blog post which pre-dates the interview by nearly 6 months and expresses the same ideas.

So far, I’ve had four requests for the audio, so releasing it is yet to become my top priority. But I probably will eventually. In the meantime, I’m going to concentrate on getting a few edited clips of the Cory Doctorow material that went into writing the book, clips that I prepared with the help of Nightjar studios last year, out in the wild. And I think it might be fun to publish the Daniel Domscheit-Berg interview from 2009, given that I think – as I wrote in the book – it provides an interesting contrast with the Assange material (I basically asked them both the same questions). My interest in releasing this material is two-fold. First, I want to encourage as many people as possible to read the book. But second, and perhaps just as important, I want to see what life this material can have it its own right if I release it in a way that lets others repurpose it.

Download a chapter of my book!

Tomorrow, I’m hoping to give a lightning talk at Book Hackday, an event being hosted at the Free Word Centre in London for hackers and writers to explore the next step in the evolution of the digital book. Tucked under my arm will be the third chapter of my book Barefoot Into Cyberspace, as well as an audio recording and transcript of the interview with Stewart Brand that contributed to the chapter. This is the first time any of this book has been published anywhere, so I’m getting a bit excited.

The chapter is called “Information wants to be free”, the observation made in 1984 at the Hacker Con in Marin County for which Brand will probably go down in history. I’ve chosen this chapter because I think it lends itself particularly well to being enriched by supplementary materials available online. The history of the development of the personal computer and the net is very well represented online: so many of the original materials which bear witness to this history are freely available, from a video of Douglas Engelbart’s 1968 Mother of All Demos to John Perry Barlow’s 1996 “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace“. I’ve highlighted the major references and material used in Chapter 3 in my delicious feed – hopefully the hackers at tomorrow’s event will be able to make use of this, too.

I’m licensing the chapter CC-BY-SA, in the hope that people will share it as widely as possible. You can download the pdf below via Scribd. You can also download the transcript (for now licensed CC-BY-SA-NC) of the interview with Brand, which I recorded in January last year. If you can, do please come to the event tomorrow, show some support, and get hacking. But if you can’t make it, mail me at becky DOT hogge AT gmail DOT com for a copy of the html files. And if you come up with anything interesting, please share it in the comments.