Um, Edward Snowden Just Released A Techno Song With A French DJ — LISTEN
On Thursday afternoon, former NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden released a new techno song called "Exit" with French DJ Jean-Michel Jarre. Seriously. Snowden first blew the whistle on the entire NSA in 2013 when he reached out to journalists Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald to leak thousands of documents about the NSA's mass data collection. Now, Snowden is the director of the non-profit organization Freedom of the Press Foundation. He also spends his time making Twitter jokes about Jeb Bush and Kanye West, and there's actually a movie coming out about him.
Snowden's track, which was recorded with Jarre, comes along with a music video that is essentially warning about the dangers of the surveillance state. Maybe it's a new and creative way to reach out to the public about how important it is to secure the right to privacy.
Specifically, the clip focuses on this important warning:
Technology can actually increase privacy. The question is: ‘Why are our private details that are transmitted online... why are private details that are stored on our personal devices, any different than the details and private records of our lives that are stored in our private journals?
Check it out.
While the song itself isn't likely to win any Grammys, finding new ways to disseminate information to a public audience through a music video is pretty original and creative for the whistleblower. Regardless of how the message comes about, what is being said in regards to the NSA's global surveillance network is still incredibly important and relevant.
In fact, a recent study from Jon Penney at the Oxford Internet Institute details how the surveillance state "breeds fear and conformity and stifles free expression." According to the Intercept, the study found a "20 percent decline in page views on Wikipedia articles related to terrorism, including those that mentioned ‘al-Qaeda,’ “car bomb’ or ‘Taliban.'" People should not be afraid of any legal ramifications for simply searching terms online that are related to terrorism.
Individuals should have a right to privacy, and should not censor either the information they seek or the information they put in words because they are afraid of the U.S. government's surveillance state. Likewise, the argument "I have nothing to hide" is not valid — everyone has something to hide from someone. That's why we password protect our emails, phones, bank accounts, Twitter accounts, and other online information.
Snowden just wants to make clear that the threat of far-reaching surveillance is still prevalent. Now you can just dance along to it.