VIDEO: Edward Snowden – A Conversation on Privacy

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A Conversation on Privacy – Part I


On the 25th of March 2016 the University of Arizona  hosted an event with Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden and Noam Chomsky about Privacy. Below you will see Part I of the event. You can find the full video on “The Intercept”.


In the first part of this conversation, Glenn Greenwald, Noam Chomsky and Edward Snowden speak about the boundaries between the “self” and its relation to the state & corporate powers.

  • Where do we find ourselves 25 years after the commercialization of the internet took place?
  • What is the background behind the internet?
  • What role does the free press have in our society today?
  • Where should we draw the line when it comes to government surveillance?
  • What is the role of a whistleblower?
All of these questions and many more are addressed in the video below:

VIDEO: A Conversation on Privacy – PART I


Notable excerpts from the video:

Noam Chomsky about the initial reasons for creating the internet:

The Internet was intended by the early designers to be a free, open means of communication, which would be democratized… Originally it was intended actually for scientists to interchange freely but then more broadly for the general public in the hope and expectation that it would widen horizons. That it would provide quick access to information. That it would allow for free interchange of thoughts and ideas and just contribute to a more healthy, vital, democratic society.

Glenn Greenwald about the role of the free press:

[…]originally that was intended to be used by every citizen as a means, not to gain employment or to earn a livelihood, but to answer the critical question that was supposed to face the Unites States at its founding, which is, if we create this centralized government, invest it with all of these extreme powers, how do we prevent it from replicating this tyrannical force that the colonists had just liberated themselves from as a result of this really risky war.

And the answer was supposed to be: there were going to be all these mechanisms that were designed to check the wielding of the factions that possess the greatest power. And one of the most critical checks was supposed to be a free press. The ability to stand up to people who wield power and to say “you’re making these claims, and rather than mindlessly ingest them or repeat them I’m actually going to challenge them, I’m going to investigate them.” Rather than letting you operate in the dark, I’m going to shine a light on what you are doing so that the citizenry is aware of the things you are doing with the power we have given to you.

Edward Snowden on the motivations of a whistleblower:

I’ve said before that whistleblowers are elected by circumstance. The idea here is that we are a government that derives its legitimacy from the consent of the governed, but that consent is only meaningful if it’s informed. Now, we’re supposed to have system of checks and balances to ensure that that is always the case so we know what going on so we have the ability to cast our votes to direct the activities of our government.

We have an executive that should be checked by the courts. The courts should be directed by the Congress and this, sort of, virtuous cycle is supposed to be founded on the idea of competition between them. However things have changed. Increasingly over the existence of our nation from when we were first founded, and we were very allergic to the idea of a strong central power to the very recent past, we have a government that seems to be almost completely unrestrained by law or the constitution


To read the interview transcript, click here.

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

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


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