My book group met virtually for the first time this morning to discuss Edward Snowden’s book, Permanent Record. It is a meticulous, poignant, highly convincing story of Snowden’s rise to insider power and retreat into exile. He begins as a classic, nerdy kid, utterly entranced by computer technology in the earliest days of home computing, and ends up as one of many young techno-wizards who is given a ridiculous amount of access to and power over national security. Snowden tried to point out flaws inside the NSA to no avail, and ultimately decided he had to serve the Constitution and democracy rather than a bloated ruling power.
Though highly technical, the book is quite readable and human. I am left feeling chilled by the rapid slide towards authoritarianism that the digital age has inadvertently empowered, and by the prevalent, shoulder-shrug response from so many citizens. Snowden convinced me; mass surveillance and data gathering is not okay. I applaud the integrity that compelled him to sabotage his life. I’m grateful to be reminded that the government’s job is to serve the people, not to surveil and control them.
My 60th year in 60,000 words
Day 225: 187 words, TOTAL = 36,665; 23,335 remaining
Robin Clifford Wood is a writer and writing teacher. She lives in central Maine with her husband and dogs, loves to be outdoors, and enjoys ever-expanding horizons through her grown children and their multi-species families.