Edward Snowden – A Conversation on Privacy Part 2

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Edward Snowden – A Conversation on Privacy Part 2


On the 25th of March 2016, the University of Arizona organized an event called “A Conversation on Privacy” which hosted Edward Snowden, Noam Chomsky and Glenn Greenwald. Due to the importance of this event to human freedom and liberty, acTVism is translating it, part by part, into the German language. Although we have the personnel to translate the content into Spanish, French and Greek as well,  we  lack the financial resources that would free up the necessary time required to undertake this critical initiative. Please donate today by clicking here so that we can translate this event and similar initiatives in order to create awareness on a global scale.

In this mini-video, the conversation on privacy continues with the NSA-Whistleblower Edward Snowden, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Glenn Greenwald and renowned linguist Noam Chomsky.

  • Why should any form of authority, domination and hierarchy initially assumed  to be illegitimate?
  • What is the conceptual history of privacy in America and has it evolved in our modern society?
  • Is privacy a fundamental human need or an abstract concept?
  • Why is privacy the basis for all other human rights such as freedom of religion, freedom of the press, etc?

All of these questions and many more are addressed in the following video:


VIDEO: Edward Snowden – A Conversation on Privacy Part 2


To read the interview transcript, Click here.

For part “A Conversation on Privacy” PART 1 video, click here.

For more videos with Glenn Greenwald,  visit our YouTube playlist.

To see our entire Video playlist  with Noam Chomsky, click here.


Notice for an upcoming acTVism Event:

NSA-whistleblower, Edward Snowden, confirmed his participation for acTVism Munich’s next event called “Freedom and Democracy: Global Issues Connecting the Dots” at Muffatwerk in Munich. Snowden will be taking part via video-conference. In this event we plan to bring leading experts together to discuss the connections between various issues and reveal the system at work. We believe that we can only arrive at viable solutions by increasing public awareness of the principal and structural faults of our system. More details to the event coming soon!


Notable excerpts from the video:

Noam Chomsky on structures of power, domination and hierarchy:

Well I think we should start from a principle which derives from the enlightenment and classical liberalism. The principle that any form of authority, domination, and hierarchy must be assumed initially to be illegitimate. It carries a burden of proof. The burden of proof is on the structure of authority. It has to demonstrate that it has legitimacy in specific circumstances… and sometimes… it should be a pretty high burden.

Glenn Greenwald on the importance of privacy:

We are social animals we have a need for other people to know and see what we’re doing, which is why we post things about ourselves online, but we also have the need to be able to do things without other people watching because when other people are watching what you’re doing you’re much more likely to engage in decision-making that’s the byproduct of societal orthodoxies or external expectations and not a byproduct of your own agency and independence, and so when we lose privacy, when we allow ourselves to live in a society where some of us are more susceptible to being monitored at all times we lose a really critical part of what it means to be a free and fulfilled individual.

Edward Snowden on why he considers privacy to be the basis for all other rights:

I would say privacy is the founding head of all other rights. Privacy is the right to the self, privacy is the right as we have in the Constitution to freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure without probable cause. Privacy is the right to a free mind. Now how can I say that, right, that seems sort of abstract, but when you think about it, privacy is what allows us to determine what we believe, without being influenced by others, without being subject to peer pressure, without our ideas being prejudged before they’re fully formed. Freedom of speech has no meaning if you don’t have the space, the time, the freedom to determine what it is that you want to say. Freedom of religion has no value if you cannot independently determine what it is that you believe in, otherwise you’re being influenced by what’s popular or what you inherited. Now when we go further from this we realize that this is actually inherently understood by generations of speakers, generations of thinkers, going down all the way to something that Mr. Chomsky made understand quite well, which are the underpinnings of our language. It’s called private property for a reason. Without privacy you can’t have anything for yourself. You exist as a collective, you exist in a state of reaction to your environment at all times. You are a part of a larger being, but at no time are you permitted to have a space that is only just for you.

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Edward Snowden, Noam Chomsky & Glenn Greenwald
Edward Snowden, Noam Chomsky, Glenn Greenwald

acTVism Munich plans to continue translating the event organized by the University of Arizona, “A Conversation to Privacy” that hosted Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald and Noam Chomsky. We Munich believe that privacy is a central ingredient to democracy and creating awareness on it on a global scale is of utmost importance for the future of human freedom and liberty. We will also continue to translate an event organized by the New York Public Library (NYPL) that hosted Yanis Varoufakis and Noam Chomsky. This event took place on the 26th of April, 2016, and focused, amongst other issues, on the state of European democracy; the underlying problems confronting it and the solutions required for meaningful change.

Saal_der_Bundespressekonferenz
Federal Press Conference in Berlin

Secondly, acTVism Munich will gain full access to the German Federal Press Conference in Berlin starting late August. This will provide us an opportunity to pose critical questions directly to the German government which will foster awareness on a host of issues seldom discussed in the mainstream media. The attempt is to translate and synchronize the Q&As into English as well.

We lack technical and financial resources to translate the events and press conference mentioned above. Furthermore, we will only be able to attend the press conference once every 3 months due to the high costs of travelling and lodging.

Edward Snowden on acTVism Munich
NSA-Whistleblower Edward Snowden

Lastly, acTVism Munich received Edward Snowden’s confirmation on his participation in a future event known as “Freedom & Democracy: Global Issues – Connecting the Dots”. In this event we plan to bring leading experts together to discuss the connections between various issues and reveal the system at work. We believe that we can only arrive at viable solutions by increasing public awareness of the principal and structural faults of our system. More details to this event will follow in August.

We lack the necessary financial and technical resources to execute the projects, trips and events mentioned above. Since we are a non-profit and independent media outlet that has a strict policy against accepting advertisements, government or corporate support – we depend only on you, the public.

These projects depend only on you – please support us today by donating via PayPal or Bank transfer by clicking here!


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  1. i agree, but there seems to be two main reasons used against privacy, either security or morality, the first one defeat itself, as to when or how is it guaranteed that those doing the surveillance will not use it againts other, how are they qualified for this, and should they be surveilled, foollowing this logic will innevitably create either two types of citizns or a hive mind, in the case of morality most times is subjected to individual prefrences and cultural bias, so they are not an absolute truth, the only morality that should be enforced is those that will affect others, finally morality can also be used against the individual as to go against the group and its cultures main believe.

    Snowden is right, if you have nothing to hide what do you care? what excuse could you possibly have to do it?.

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