Attendees at the International Students for Liberty Conference in Washington DC mid February had the pleasure of hearing Edward Snowden speak of the libertarian ideal and constitutional right of “being secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects…” He spoke about the massive surveillance policies and programs of our government that are done in our name. How can we vote, he asks, if we don’t know about the nation-wide intelligence gathering being done by our government? “Decisions about personal rights cannot be made behind closed doors.”
Mr. Snowden continued: The Fourth Amendment forbids the seizing of private records. And yet, large amounts of money are being spent to this end. This activity changes the relationship between government and the people who are governed by it. “At the end of the day,” he says, “surveillance is a mechanism for control.” Mr. Snowden’s regret is not speaking up sooner. He sees that the more money invested in surveillance and the more security organizations become accustomed to the power of their position, the harder it is to fight.
On a hopeful note, Mr. Snowden believes that we “have the ability to claw back” the domain of communications for our private lives and that “we have more power than we realize.” He cites the fact that since he spoke up, a number of courts have also agreed that mass surveillance is unlawful and a violation of human rights.
Visit www.isflc.org to view the video. You may also be interested in the film Citizen Four, about Edward Snowden and the NSA and released last October, which just won an Academy Award for best documentary. It will be shown at the Plaza Cinema, 255 W. 5th Street in Oxnard on Monday March 16 at 3:30 and 6:30 PM.