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I Enjoyed Watching CitizenFour (The Documentary About Edward Snowden)

15 March 2015

Edward Snowden (left) shows journalist Glenn Greenwald (right) how the encryption system works before sharing his leaked documents. Image via Spoilpolis.com.

Edward Snowden (left) shows journalist Glenn Greenwald (right) how the encryption system works before sharing his leaked documents.

I am probably quite late (the film was released in October 2014) but it just happens that I have seen CitizenFour tonight. “Citizenfour,” the codename that Snowden gave himself prior to getting public with the NSA spying scandal, is a very interesting documentary, impartial, objective, as any documentary should be, which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary at this year’s 2015 Oscars.

Not only did I like the informative nature of the documentary, that is a real eye-opener on the way the US government has crossed the narrow line between preserving national security and spying on citizen without noticing them. No, I also liked the way the documentary educates us about a world in which almost all our communications and transactions are digital and traceable. It is not a surprise to me, but it comes as a useful reminder that we do live in a networked world in which nothing of what makes our lives easier is anonymous.

Finally, as the documentary doesn’t focus too much on Snowden himself nor his personality, but puts the emphasis on how the leak unfolded and was brought to the masses thanks to a handful of journalists and human rights activists, I also learned a lot about media.

You don’t come out of CitizenFour paranoid, you just feel more informed about the way state intelligence approaches digital communication and gathers data about us to better know what’s happening. Some countries, like Singapore, do it very openly. Other, like the US, did it without telling anyone, which is exactly the problem that Snowden wanted to raise.

I warmly recommend the documentary for the above reasons. Have you seen it? Liked it?

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