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Friday, November 1, 2019

Permanent RecordPermanent Record by Edward Snowden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a highly-readable and thoroughly fascinating account of Snowden as a child, his ethical foundations, computer ethos, and his original desire always do the right thing.

For any of you who don't know his name, you'll find a thousand accounts that turn him into a hero and a thousand that turn him into a traitor. I totally recommend reading his own words. He was always careful and thoughtful and did what he did for what he thought was the very best of reasons.

By any stretch of reality, he simply gave true accounts, backed up with real data, to the most responsible and courageous reporters he could find.

What is the crux?

Proof of worldwide surveillance for everything that has ever gone online, stored forever. This means there is no privacy, and no accountability. Any two-bit dictator might later use ANYTHING you might have EVER said from your childhood all the way to the things you said this morning. Any joke, anything you thought hidden anonymously, any vile, atrocious, mean statement. Anything you might ever be ashamed of. And let's not forget anything that your computers might control, such as cameras, microphones. Or your cell phones, even while powered off, always being able to track you.

Your footprints and your very metadata as a person is online. Stored forever.

The U.S. government lied about this.

Ed Snowden, as a sysadmin with high clearance, also had access to utterly amazing amounts of confidential documents, knowledge of the high tech systems, cryptology, and the programs that, with a little intelligence, could be rendered from their original compartmentalizations into a seamless, rather obvious goal.

This knowledge conflicted with is ethics, his very sense of what is right, and so he did the bravest thing he could have done. Become a whistleblower. Let us know the state of the world we live in. The truth.

Since then, many people have reviled him. Many have been blown away by the sheer courage and selflessness of his actions.

I, for one, believe in the Constitution, most of which dealt with securing the privacy and the basic autonomy of its citizens, limiting seizure and the state's power. When you think about it, this huge information-gathering complex that records everything for later sifting is nothing more than absolute seizure. It has made an absolute joke of the constitution.

I believe in my right to privacy. It has nothing to do with whether I have anything to hide. Do you think because you have nothing to say that you ought to give up your right to ever write again? How about burning all your books because you don't feel like reading? Sound good to you?

So yes, I'm one of those people who call Snowden a hero. I've been following this for quite some time and the whole thing leaves me speechless.

He is one good man standing up for what he believes in. I cannot begin to tell each and every one of you how much I care that he stays safe.

This book breaks it all down quite wonderfully, explaining everything. I totally recommend it for everyone. It might sound rather dystopian in parts, but the real world is already there.

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