This is the second of a two-part investigation by Michael Kirk for PBS’ Frontline series in 2014 about the NSA’s surveillance programmes that were revealed thanks to Edward Snowden’s leaks to reporters earlier in that same year.
In this episode we get the back story to Edward Snowden’s leaks of government documents to the press. One remarkable thing that comes out is how clear and confident he was that he was doing the right thing, and how well he comes over on camera, giving people confidence they were not dealing with someone intentionally causing harm, but who had the public in mind.
We also see how the NSA eventually understood that the private companies like Google and Facebook, who had developed tools to target advertising, were gathering information at a rate and quality they themselves were not getting, and so hacked into their systems, sometimes with, sometimes without agreement.
The whole story when put together like this is disturbing to say the least. As I have said before: we really have to build a new way of communication, “a new internet”, where people’s privacy is foremost, and whose online activity cannot be revealed because it is not available to anyone.
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