By Jim Carey
Citizen Four was the handle that Edward Snowden used in his first emails to contact Laura Poitras, the director of this 2014 Oscar Oscar-winning documentary. Snowden’s story begins as an encrypted correspondence which went on for several months and finally unfolds over a period of eight days in Hong Kong’s Mira Hotel. Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill, journalists from UK’s The Guardian, conduct the interviews for Poitras.
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Mon, Jun 29, 1pm
Quinta Loreto Hotel
Ed Snowden, a 29-year-old former CIA analyst, wants us to look seriously at the “magnitude of what Big Brother is doing.” He says: “It comes down to state power against the people’s ability to meaningfully oppose that power.”
We see and hear James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, lie to the US Senate when asked by Oregon’s Senator Wyden, “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions of Americans?”
“No, sir. Not wittingly.”
We learn that the largest communications and Internet companies have not only lied to the American people and the world but also participated in the charade that our emails, messages, and phone calls are all private. When a citizen sues the NSA and the case arrives at the US Court of Appeals, the lawyers for the government ask the judges not to intervene. In the words of US Appeals Court Judge Ferguson, “You are asking us to abdicate our judicial role because it might cause exceptionally grave damage to national security.” The case is dismissed. Two years after Snowden’s revelations, many of us now realize that fundamentally privacy is being abolished—not eroded, not diminished, not encroached upon— but abolished. Being constructed in its place is a colossal digital new Stasi, driven by a creepy intoxication with what is now technically possible, combined with politicians’ age-old infatuation with bullying, snooping, and creating mountains of bureaucratic prestige for themselves at the expense of the snooped-upon taxpayer.
Greenwald suggests that if you are not at all concerned about this lack of privacy, he will be more than happy to accept all your passwords to all your accounts. Something to think about! Join our discussion Monday at 1pm. All our events are free.