Tag Archives: Snowden

Meaningful Multimedia

Why I really like the Snowden Wired cover picture.

I like this picture a lot.

snowden with code(love)

snowden with code(love)

From: http://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bu8AkLtIQAA5hLD.jpg

If you’ve missed Wired’s profile on Edward Snowden, go check it out. For some balance, there’s the New Republic’s piece on what went unasked in that interview.

It’s a fascinating look at two NSA whistle-blowers talking about what makes them tick. The writer, James Bamford, writes extensively about security agencies and was himself a whistle-blower of sorts, publishing the first book on the NSA—something that earned him threats of prosecution.

It gets to the larger point of what motivates different individual actors, a fascinating look at the dynamics of the open web.

It has really been new media and the blogosphere that has picked up Snowden’s torch. Mainstream media have often been accommodating. Mainstream politicians have not.

With more Americans now concerned about civil liberties abuses than terrorism, you could say that Snowden’s story is a victory for the open web discussing, and spreading ideas.

The fact that this picture could have been taken owes a lot to how we have come together to discuss the complex issue of security vs privacy.

It is a victory of engineers, teachers, and learners—all of us on the open web faced with the conventional power of talking heads.

So hats off to him. And hats off to all of us for keeping the discussion alive, and reinforcing the importance of an open web.

Technology and Society

The NSA opened Pandora’s Box

For a long time, it has been a well-known fact that the rule of law in America applies separately for different groups. The old line goes something like this: steal one dollar, and you’re a thief. Steal a million, and you’re the king.

Steal one dollar, and you’re a thief. Steal a million, and you’re the king.

We saw this in 2008 where the only Goldman employee criminally prosecuted during that period was guilty for the sin of taking open-source code from Goldman he had worked on for documentation purposes—as opposed to trickery that cost America billions and perhaps even trillions in lost opportunity and jobs.

This has never been so blatantly obvious until now. In his latest revelations, Edward Snowden has claimed that the NSA spied on human rights groups in America, and used algorithms to tease out metadata from groups of individuals never suspected of plotting or doing actual terror attacks—individuals who were “guilty by association”.

This breaks so much of the spirit that governs the Constitution, but more importantly, it breaks so many laws that this assertion is breath-taking in of itself.

If these assertions are true, we are back to the days of the old, illegal, and covert COINTELPRO program, a FBI program that unscrupulously, and covertly monitored such radicals as Martin Luther King Jr. and Albert Einstein for advocating on civil rights.

Imagine a world where I could come under surveillance and special targeting for writing this piece, and you could as well by reading it.

This may be the world we live in now.

The NSA has opened Pandora’s box.

It is now the duty of those working for a free, fair, and open Internet to close it back up—no matter how hard that may be.

Telling the Truth to the NSA with code(love)

Telling the Truth to the NSA with code(love)