So a TED talk hosted in Vancouver featuring Edward Snowden talking through a robot from an undisclosed location and interviewed by Chris Anderson, the curator of TED, succeeded in distracting me from my homework.
I was excited by the opportunity to see him speak, and I recommend everyone watch the 35 minute talk linked here:
In a nutshell, Snowden was talking about the programs the NSA has been using to monitor American citizens and why they are unconstitutional. He spoke about the problems with the concept of secret surveillance initiatives being reviewed by a secret court that has no one monitoring it because it is secret. I make no pretenses of being unbiased here.
Snowden also spoke about one of my favorite topics (favorite because it’s a serious problem and I care about it deeply), the criminalization of journalism and death of the free press.
“Journalism is not a crime, communication is not a crime, and we should not be monitored in our everyday activities,” Snowden said towards the end of the talk.
Truly, the public should be able to monitor the actions of the government without fear of being charged with treason or without the government hiding their actions to make them nearly impossible to monitor.
I’ve heard a lot of arguments that Snowden is being celebratized (not a word, I made it up), and that he has secret initiatives to do what he is doing besides helping the American people. I have high doubts for this allegation.
Snowden’s statement when asked how he was coping with fear in his precarious situation clarified to me what his aims are.
“The fact that [the government is] willing to completely ignore due process, the fact that they’re willing to declare guilt without ever seeing a trial; these are things we need to work against as a society and say, hey, this is not appropriate. We shouldn’t be threatening dissidents. We shouldn’t be criticizing journalism. What whatever part I can play to see that end, I’m happy to do despite the risks,” said Snowden.
I like him, and I think we really need to pay attention to this issue until it is resolved in a way that eradicates the unconstitutionality of the NSA, secures freedom of speech and privacy through electronic communication, and obliterates the FISA court for the sham it is.