During ORGCON, Edward Snowden gave the keynote speech on July 13th, emphasizing to the audience the importance of understanding and awareness of the limits of digital freedom and privacy.

E. Snowden had this to say:
“One of the things that motivated me to come forward was to…see the gap, the distance between what the public understood the laws…to mean…and also what our capabilities were, and how those were being applied,” E. Snowden.

And a key quote from his keynote was: “People think of 2013 as a surveillance story, but it was really a democracy story.”- Snowden. His beliefs root from freedom of knowledge and society’s trust in the government. The dichotomy here presents unreasonable double standards, which is why he believes in the masses of the public to take action and make themselves aware. He believes that instead, a new system must be created to protect those rights, even for the uninformed.

Social Impacts and Ethical Issues:

Certainly Surveillance is at the complete root of the argument as Snowden’s reputation has earned him quite the following regarding censorship and surveillance. Snowden has acknowledged that the Governments is not all that “for its people” and instead are misusing and exploiting their power both physically and digitally. I have described this along with the following paragraph.

Policies and Standards have been discussed as Snowden claims that the US Government adheres to its law of not spying on people’s physical and digital whereabouts. The government sends out officers or reconnaissance who either actively or passively collect information such as whereabouts (active) or through mass data digitally, which is automated (passive). Snowden claims that the laws created by the government are too flexible and are not followed, and they are changed from a case-by-case basis. This completely degrades not only justice, but individual freedom and rights, which is why Snowden has emphasised that the Government increasingly cares less about rights and more about power. He also states that the court system is now being utilised even less, due to how slow it acts when dealing with cases such as the “Germans”, terrorists and immigrants (don’t forget the politically exposed), which is why the power is transferred to the officers (the ones spying on you) to make judgements. The public’s perception and understanding is what is needed to make a change.

Digital Rights is concerned, which is why Snowden is proud and believes that a committed group of experts could resolve this issue of surveillance. Moreover, digital citizenship is completely exposed by the US government, as similarly to physical surveillance and lack of privacy thus depreciating the value of digital citizenship and hence freedom again.

Security is at stake here as Snowden says that regardless of information that is sent over the web is encrypted or not, the government still holds ultimate control over what is sent thus making it their property. Encrypting a message only makes the Government’s job harder in terms of decoding the message, but it can still be done. Messages through large digital corporations such as Facebook requires the message to be sent via their system. This means that Facebook still stores the transactions, even though it may disappear on people’s screens. It’s more about being state secure, rather than public secure!

In conclusion, the US Government rides on the public’s trust, which is why Snowden is raising his army of activists from Russia so that this community can (after a few years and decades) make this world more digitally fair.




Sources Used:
Article 1
Article 2

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