There are moments in ones life that cause an individual to change. Some of those moments have a catalyst in the way of an experience, event, etc. It’s kinda like when someone asks you where were you when you heard about the twin towers in New York City? Really big events not only change one person but have the power to change everything. There was before September 11 and there is after September 11. This particular event also affected Edward Snowden the author of Permanent Record,
I remember when I watched the documentary “Citizenfour,” directed by Laura Poitras, having a serious shock and awe moment when I realized how much, how serious and how scary the amount of surveillance that my government was perpetrating on its own citizens, as well as every human being on this planet. This isn’t a clever science fiction plot. It is real life and it is terrifying.
So of course, when I heard that Edward Snowden had written a book, I had to read it. I was not disappointed. The following is the description from the jacket cover:
“As I proceeded down the Tunnel, it struck me: this, in front of me, was my future. I’m not saying that I made any decisions at that instant. The most important decisions in life are never made that way. They’re made subconsciously and only express themselves once fully formed – once you’re finally strong enough to admit to yourself that this is the course your beliefs have decreed. That was my twenty-ninth birthday present to myself: the awareness that I had entered a tunnel that would narrow my life down toward a single, still indistinct act.” – (Page 214) from Permanent Record
“In 2013, twenty-nine-year-old Edward Snowden shocked the world when he broke with the American Intelligence establishment and revealed that the United States government was secretly pursuing the means to collect every single phone call, text message and email. The result would be an unprecedented system of mass surveillance with the ability to pry into the private lives of every person on earth. Six years later, Snowden reveals for the first time how he helped to build this system and why he was moved to expose it.
Spanning the bucolic Beltway suburbs of his childhood and the clandestine CIA and NSA postings of his adulthood, Permanent Record is the extraordinary account of a bright young man who grew up online – a man who became a spy, a whistle blower, and in exile, the Internet’s conscience. Written with wit, grace, passion, and unflinching candor, Permanet Record is a crucial memoir of our digital age and destined to be a classic.” – Book cover of Permanent Record by Edward Snowden
Written in a way that even the less than technical savoy can understand, I felt that I was given a view into the government’s development of its spying programs. I also felt like Edward shared his struggle and motivation. The words flow logically and Edward leads you through the story. I appreciated his candor, humility and humor.
At one point in the chapter on encryption Edward makes the following comment.
“Breaking a 128-bit key would take 2 [to the 64th] times longer than a day, or fifty million billion years. By that time, I might even be pardoned.” – page 217 Permanent Record
I my humble opinion, Edward Snowden should be pardoned. He is a hero. He pointed out something that should be a concern to every human being on this planet.
I highly recommend the book Permanent Record. It puts the record straight. If you have read it, please post a comment. Or if you would like to discuss the book with me, please contact me through my contact page.