How a meeting with a young computer expert in Hong Kong changed the life of a Guardian journalist.
What is the most significant information you received from Snowden?
“The cardinal point is that part of the goal of the NSA is to completely eliminate privacy everywhere in the world. Its goal is to make every piece of human communication that is done by electronic means vulnerable to monitoring and surveillance − to collect, store and analyze every message transmitted by people via the telephone or the Internet."
“You have to assume that everything you say or write is under surveillance, and above all you have to take action that will prevent surveillance. Emails can be encrypted, there are ways to surf anonymously, such as through the Tor browser, which allows people to surf without governments or secret services being able to monitor them. In other words, there are measures you can take to preserve your privacy.”
Bottom line: Are we living in a freer society than in the past, or not?
“The promise of the Internet was that it would liberate people and bolster democracy, but it has become a tool for suppression and control. In fact, it is one of the most powerful instruments of control ever invented. The most essential challenge we face today is related to the real effect of the Internet. Will it impart power to people and liberate them, or will it impart more strength to the centers of power and help them oversee, control and suppress the population? That is the struggle of our generation, and it has yet to be decided.”