‘Unlimited reach, no safeguards’: Snowden warns of greatest social control scheme in history
The US government has a tendency to hijack and weaponize revolutionary innovations, Edward Snowden said, noting that the natural human desire to communicate with others is now being exploited on an unprecedented scale.
“Our utopian vision for the future is never guaranteed to be realized,” Snowden told the audience in Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada via live stream from Moscow this week, stressing that the US government “corrupted our knowledge... towards a military purpose.”
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They took our nuclear capability and transformed it into the most horrible weapon that the world had ever witnessed. And we’re seeing an atomic moment of computer science... Its reach is unlimited... but its safeguards are not!
The whistleblower, who in 2013 leaked a trove of highly classified information about global spying operations by the National Security Agency, argued that, armed with modern technology and with the help of social media and tech giants, governments are becoming “all-powerful” in their ability to monitor, analyze, and influence behavior.
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It's through the use of new platforms and algorithms that are built on and around these capabilities that they are able to shift our behavior. In some cases, they are able to predict our decisions and also nudge them to different outcomes.
The natural human need for “belonging” is being exploited and users voluntarily consent to surrender virtually all of their data by signing carefully drafted user agreements that no one bothers to read. “Everything has hundreds and hundreds of pages of legal jargon that we're not qualified to read and assess and yet they are considered binding upon us,” Snowden said.
And now these institutions, which are both commercial and governmental... have structuralized and entrenched it to where it has become now the most effective means of social control in the history of our species.
WATCH Edward Snowden’s full speech:
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