Book review: Permanent Record, by Edward Snowden

Permanent Record, by Edward Snowden, is one of those books that should be part of school curriculums, now especially, in times when the internet and cyber-tech can become our worst enemy if abuse by governing powers, continues. Of course, in America, it is unlikely that this book will ever be read in the classroom, because there, it is a crime of the highest order to be a whistleblower, someone who exposes the dirty skeletons hidden in the closets of governmental offices and agencies. Edward Snowden needs no introduction. He is quite possibly the one person most responsible for exposing the abusive and illegal mass-surveillance being conducted by America’s National Intelligence Agency (NSA) and causing more than a ripple for change across the world, as his evidential outpouring awakened people to the fact that government agencies, such as the NSA, were collecting their private information and were able to use it against them. In this book, Permanent Record, Snowden details the story, how he came into a position as a computer specialist, IT architech and engineer, and how, over the course of some years, his eyes were opened to the real theater going on in the intelligence cyber community, and how this was, and is, affecting not only the lives of people today, but the fact that it is setting a new paradigm for the future, one where “national security” trumps personal freedom and privacy, any time, and is not only justified, but legalized. Permanent Record provides a lot of insights about the underpinnings of the intelligence mass data collection and how it is used and can be used. It’s more than an Orwellian reminder of how society can morph into something terrible, it is a reality check and one which we must come to terms with so that agencies like the NSA are not permitted license to engage in illegal and abusive data collection, right down to what we look at on our computers, our emails, our phone calls, and such. Snowden’s book reminds us that we must be on the vigil because what’s at stake is our freedom and our privacy, and the ones who seem to feel entitled to take that away from us clearly have another agenda, which they hide under the mantra of “national security” – one that certainly marches to the tune of “the end justifies the means”

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