Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has singled out Facebook as an "appalling spying machine" in an interview with Russia Today. Assange warned in an earlier speech at Cambridge University that information gathered on the Web could be used by governments to spy on its citizens. But this time he called "Facebook in particular the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented. Here we have the world’s most comprehensive database about people, their relationships, their names, their addresses, their locations and their communications, all accessible to US intelligence. Facebook, Google, Yahoo—all these major US organizations have built-in interfaces for US intelligence," he added.
"Everyone should understand that when they add their friends to Facebook they are doing free work for the US intelligence agencies," he warned. He conceded that Facebook isn't working for or following orders from US intelligence, but said that the government is "able to bring to bear legal and political pressure" on the company. In response to Assange's interview, a Facebook spokesman told the New York Daily News that the company only turns over information when "legally required to do so." The "legal standards for compelling a company to turn over data are determined by the laws of the country, and we respect that standard," the spokesman noted.