‘Citizenfour’ opens our eyes to U.S. surveillance programs

Edward Snowden is responsible for what some believe to be the largest leak of classified documents in U.S. history. (Photo courtesy of RADiUS TWC)

Edward Snowden is responsible for what some believe to be the largest leak of classified documents in U.S. history. (Photo courtesy of RADiUS TWC)

With the Academy Awards complete and all the movie hype of the year out of the way, all that is left for movie lovers to do is sit back and watch all the winning films.

If Laura Poitras’s Academy-Award-winning documentary “Citizenfour” is on your unseen list, make sure it’s next to watch in your queue.

“Citizenfour” gives an inside look at what some believe to be the largest leak of classified information in the history of the United States.

The leak occurred in early 2013 when Poitras, a documentary film maker, began receiving encrypted emails from an anonymous source claiming to have proof that NSA directors had lied to Congress about the surveillance programs that were then being implemented, and how large companies and often multinational corporations were sometimes complicit in aiding the government in collecting mass quantities of customer information and data.

After months of correspondence, Poitras and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glen Greenwald traveled to Hong Kong to meet the source, who ends up being 28-year-old NSA analyst turned whistle blower Edward Snowden.

“Citizenfour” shows the 10 days spent in Hong Kong by Poitras, Greenwald, Snowden and investigative reporter for The Guardian, Ewen MacAskill, as we see their strategy unfold on how to release the information in the most ethical way possible.

This information consists of thousands of documents explaining U.S. domestic and foreign surveillance programs, secret court orders issued by secret courts and a variety of other information that Snowden felt should be discussed in a public forum, rather than among a few politicians and government agency directors.

While much of the film feels like a fictitious spy thriller, it’s eye opening to realize at just how limitless these programs are, and just how invasive the government has gotten with its surveillance techniques.

Nearly every digital keystroke or action that takes place on any digital device is recorded and stored in a massive storage facility, and while this may not seem extremely controversial, it makes you realize we are living in a security state where the idea of privacy is nonexistent.

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