On Friday night, Vice‘s Shane Smith traveled to Moscow to sit for an interview with Edward Snowden, the former CIA employee who sparked an international uproar over security and civil liberties when he leaked classified information about global surveillance programs in 2013.
Snowden, who was granted asylum in Russia three years ago, was the main focus of the newest Vice special called, “The State of Surveillance,” a sweeping and eye-opening look at the processes of Big Brother around the world. In the wake of a renewed focus on homeland security with the world increasingly on edge regarding terror plots, the conversation is as potent as ever. Smith provided a basic iPhone for Snowden at one point of the interview, and with a surgeon’s-like precision, the traitor/outlaw/hero (depending on your perspective, of course) proceeded to meticulously pull it apart to demonstrate the mechanisms that can actually be activated remotely:
“Third parties can actually turn on your phone microphones and cameras without you evening knowing it,” said Smith in a voiceover for the segment.
“Any device that’s on here, you can operate independently,” continued Snowden. Like a doctor schooling a room full of first-year wide-eyed medical students, he begins to say, “I’m gonna be detaching the ribbon cables that are connecting the camera…”
The Vice episode delved into the two independent commissions in 2013 that each revealed that no terror attacks had been prevented as a result of the mass-data collecting programs.
“We live in a time when the politics of fear are the most persuasive thing on the table,” says the fugitive Snowden in the special at one point. He continues ominously, “When we think about the future and where we go from here, the question is: are we going to change and enter sort of a quantified world where everywhere you’ve been, everyone you’ve talked to, is indexed, is analyzed, is stored and it’s used maybe against you?”
Watch the above clip from HBO’s Vice.
[image via screengrab]
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