NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden said Thursday that people in systems of power have exploited the human desire to connect in order to create systems of mass surveillance.
Right now, he said, humanity is in a sort of “atomic moment” in the field of computer science. “We’re in the midst of the greatest redistribution of power since the Industrial Revolution, and this is happening because technology has provided a new capability,” Snowden said.
“It’s related to influence that reaches everyone in every place,” he said. “It has no regard for borders. Its reach is unlimited, if you will, but its safeguards are not.” Without such defenses, technology is able to affect human behavior.
Institutions can “monitor and record private activities of people on a scale that’s broad enough that we can say it’s close to all-powerful,” said Snowden. They do this through “new platforms and algorithms,” through which “they’re able to shift our behavior. In some cases they’re able to predict our decisions—and also nudge them—to different outcomes. And they do this by exploiting the human need for belonging.” – READ MORE