Edward Snowden sits down with VICE News to deliver a sobering reminder about the mass surveillance state and how it threatens liberty worldwide.
by Joey Clark
While many Americans have been distracted by the 2016 presidential election circus, the surveillance state continues to operate nearly unimpeded, stealthily playing the role of Big Brother to millions of Americans and billions more across the globe. The two presumptive presidential candidates —Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton —may be stealing the spotlight on the main stage, but the people’s liberties are being stolen behind the scenes. And though there are many courageous people who have come to liberty’s aid in this time of peril, we largely have one man to thank for bringing this disturbing “architecture of oppression” to the public’s attention. Donald Trump has called this man a “traitor” and implied he should be executed. Hillary Clinton has said this man should face the music because he broke “the laws” of the United States.
Thus, no matter who wins the 2016 election, Edward Snowden will have no friend sitting in the oval office — nor will the cause of liberty. Faced with such a prospect, liberty lovers must keep themselves informed and prepare to push back against those who would eviscerate our natural rights. Advances in technology can serve as a double-edged sword, and this behooves us to stay vigilant in curtailing potential and realized abuses of state power such technology brings.
Edward Snowden recently sat down with VICE News to discuss these abuses — from the hacking of cell phone microphones and cameras to the mining of phone metadata to the skewing of the balance of powers between the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of government.
“The devices that you paid for,” says Snowden, “watch you on our behalf.”
Snowden offers his most chilling thought regarding the technical capabilities of the government to spy on the populace, what he has branded “turn-key tyranny”:
“It means even if you trust the government today, what happens when it changes? And in our democracy we’re never more than 8 years away from a total change of government. Suddenly, everybody’s vulnerable to this individual and the systems are already in place. What happens tomorrow? In a year? In 5 years? In 10 years? When, eventually, we get an individual who says, ‘You know what? Let’s flip that switch’ and use the absolute full extent of our technical capabilities to insure the political stability of this new administration.”
Watch the entire video for more information, but here’s the bottom line: either these new technologies will be used by the people to educate and empower themselves for the sake of liberty or they will be used to advance a system of tyranny proffered to the people under the banner of security.
Which side of the divide will you join?