Someday, a movie will be made about Edward Snowden.
I can only hope that as a result of this, more of us will realize just what it is we're doing when we sign up for social networks, when we text, when we establish email accounts.
Perhaps we always sort of knew, but just didn't care. It felt creepy when ads strangely reminiscent of a recent email or online chat showed up in the sidebars of your browser, didn't it? You wanted it to stop, but doing so meant giving up conveniences of communication you seemingly couldn't live without. Doing so meant being out of touch and behind the curve.
And we can't have that, now, can we?
And so, it continued. Sharing became easier. Logging in became easier. Clouds formed. Apps manifested. And usually, all for free. We plopped down digital signatures and checked boxes indicating we'd read all the terms and conditions, when we all know we really hadn't.
Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft...the creators of all the online services we know and love routinely sell our data to the highest bidders. And now, we've just so happened to learn that one of those bidders is the U.S. government.
Today, when we use digital services, we hand over our deepest secrets, our most intimate life details, our most personal thoughts to companies that don't seem very interested in fully protecting it all from abuses of power.
But it's also because we simply don't care enough.
I've long pointed out that we don't really have the right to complain about certain things online services do because they are private businesses. But I need to append that statement. If you are unhappy with how companies handle your data, you shouldn't complain — after all, you chose to use the service. But you SHOULD push for online privacy reform, you SHOULD contact your elected officials, you SHOULD use the very tools in question to galvanize other users to the cause.
Someday, a movie will be made about Edward Snowden. But it won't be about how he revealed secret government internet surveillance programs. It will be about how he simply made us realize we enabled it to happen in the first place.