Edward Snowden was a 29 year old contractor for the National
Security Council when he stole tens of thousands of documents from the
U.S. government. His goal was to shed light on what was happening in the
U.S.A. without the consent or knowledge of its citizens. Fearing for his life,
Snowden leaked documents to the media to show the world what is actually going on. The NSA are collecting and analyzing mass amounts of data called metadata. He has been viewed as either a hero or a traitor to his country.
Edward Snowden is a hero for trying to uphold the freedom and privacy that it means to be an American.
Edward contacted Laura Poitras, a filmmaker who had been a target of government surveillance. She was frequently stopped at airports and had refused to be intimidated. She, as well as journalist Glenn Greenwald, were handpicked by Snowden to aid him in releasing this sensitive data to the public. A documentary film has been released to show the events leading to the whistle blow.
takes place in a hotel room in Hong Kong.
Edward Snowden, Laura Poitras, and Glenn Greenwald fear for the future as well as their lives while planning to release this information to the public. It is clear that the government has them all scared for their lives while they decide that the right thing to do is to inform the American people.
The amount of precaution and paranoia present throughout the film show that going public wasn’t an easy thing to do. The nervous and scared
Edward Snowden was aware that this would drastically alter his life, most likely for the worse, and he still deemed it necessary to go through all of this trouble to release the truth.
Metadata is defined as data that describes other data. This could include the origin, structure, characteristics of computer files, web pages, databases, or other digital resources. The metadata being collected is not the content, but all the information surrounding the content. If a call is made to somebody, this call is not recorded, the metadata is recorded. This metadata includes the location, date, and time of the call.
At a first glance this does not seem to be a big problem. When this data is collected throughout your entire day, many of your interactions are tied to something like a smart phone, computer, or debit card. It is possible to build a virtual life of that person based on their metadata. This information can be used to determine what people are doing in their lives, the people they associate with, places they go, and foods they like. The information available is very valuable for many different reasons from counter terrorism to more accurate and relatable advertisements meant just for individuals.
An article by John Bohannon shows us that computers are better at determining an individual’s true personality than even a best friend. One
does not hide parts of oneself from a computer as a person does to a friend.
The computer remembers every single interaction that you have with it. The information being stored, the metadata, can pinpoint individual traits and interests. The metadata is being used all over the internet to sell products and services. The advertisements surrounding web pages are specifically targeted towards the end user. Ages combined with interests are being used to help advertising companies make more effective ads.
The metadata is collected in a variety of ways. Many companies have agreed to give the NSA the metadata, while backdoors have been put in place by the NSA into private companies to allow access. Operation Bull Run was set about to install these backdoors to gain access to metadata. These backdoors weaken the security of America. Anybody with the skills or knowhow is able to hack in and access information easier than before.
Gathering personal information from computer users without their knowledge is a direct violation of our constitutional rights. The Fourth
Amendment protects us from unreasonable