In June of 2013, Glenn Greenwald was the first to report on the classified national security agency documents leaked by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, through a series of articles in “The Guardian.” Last November, VICE traveled to meet Greenwald at his home in Brazil, three months after his partner David Miranda was detained by British authorities at Heathrow international airport under the guise of anti-terrorism legislation. The investigation is ongoing.
The UK and the US governments hate the journalism that Glen is doing. What they want to do is what they’re always trying to do in these cases, which is use intimidation and bulling to scare people who are going to continue their reporting. And so, taking his partner and putting him in a room, and detaining him for what effectively was eleven hours under a terrorism law, basically branding him a terrorist, is a way of displaying their power. It is basically saying that ‘look at what it is that we can do to people who defy us, if we chose’.
At that time, Greenwald was angry, he felt helpless, and he was furious that they will target somebody peripheral to these events instead of him or the other journalists with whom he’s been working, but at the same time he found the event to be incredibly emboldening because the authorities showed their true face to the world about how abusive they are when it comes to the size of their power.
Privacy is something that is essential to who we are as human beings and is indispensable to pretty much every other single form of human freedom. The dangers of having the privacy eroded are sometimes elusive for people and yet incredibly profound. Society in which you think or know that you’re always being watched is a society which will breed conformity. When you know that you’re being watched you make choices that you believe are the ones that the judgment of society demands them.