An on-stage interview with Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Glenn Greenwald on his troubled relationship with the Canadian media and what he knows but has yet to report on CSEC spying.

Video of Glenn’s keynote can be seen here:

Episode Rundown

[00:03:29] Is CSEC spying on Canadians?” Jesse

What Greenwald knows

[00:05:35] “Canada spies as part of the Five Eyes Alliance(New Zealand, UK, Australia, US and Canada) and this alliance is notable principally in how indivisible it is. So whatever reporting we’ve done about the NSA and about GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) necessarily includes Canada as well. I do think it’s important to realize that Edward Snowden was working inside of an American surveillance agency and so the vast vast bulk of the documents he took were not documents about CSEC. They were documents about the NSA and the GCHQ. They already is information about CSEC doing the spying it wants which is spying on Canadians on Canadian soil, and their will be more reporting on those questions to come. Reporting is complicated, you have the responsibility to do it right, and to make sure what you’re reporting is accurate. And we’re being careful in that regard, and we’re also reporting it as quickly as we can and all we can say that they’re are very significant revelations left to report about Canada.” Greenwald

[00:06:59] Metadata is data, the best explanation is found here

[00:07:50] PGP pretty good privacy

[00:09:30] “You described your furtive relationship with the Globe and Mail as a difficult one, a bad experience. And you talked about shocking resistance at the CBC for months and months after a very strong start when three stories were aggressively reported. It’s been crickets since then.” Jesse

[00:09:58] Terry Milewski

[00:10:13] Greg Weston

[00:11:15] “The documents that we’ve reported around the world are in the eyes of these governments among the most sensitive material they have. Because it shows how they invade our privacy on the internet and they don’t want anybody knowing how A they do it or B that they do it. And so when they learn that media outlets are going to report on these documents or publish these documents, they apply extreme amounts of pressure to these media organizations to try to bully, intimidate and scare them out of publishing them. They (the Government) come and say if you publish these documents, you are going to help terrorists evade our detection and that will cause the death of innocent people and the blood will be on your hands. Now good journalists and good editors know governments say that in every case when they want to hide what they’re doing. So you ignore it unless they have something specific. Not everyone is a good editor and a good journalist, and some people get scared by those warnings and that has held up some of the reporting not just in Canada but countries around the world.” Greenwald

[00:13:32] “I’m sorry if I made things weird. But who is going report this stuff with you?”

[00:13:56] “I think the role of journalists is to hold people in positions of power and influence accountable and that includes large media outlets which play a really significant role. So as annoying as you’ve been the whole week and as uncomfortable as you’ve made things for my relationships with other journalists. I think you’ve done the exactly the right thing and I’m glad you did it.” Greenwald

[00:17:34] “We’ve created a system in New York that is almost ready. Where journalists from around the world are going to be able to come and work directly with the entire Snowden archive. So we substantially maximize the number of journalists who are able to work with it and find stories with it and do reporting. And we think that will expiate the reporting process by letting media outlets have at it and we think it will make the reporting a lot better as well. ” Greenwald

“And just so people can visualize this. This is sort of a human sized mini fridge where people cannot download files and copy them but they can come and it’s like a library where journalists that meet your vetting process can come and access the files.” Jesse

“Correct” Greenwald

[00:19:42] Greenwald partner being detained

[00:21:23] Greenwald on the Munk debates; he debated with Alan Dershowitz and Michael Hayden.

[00:22:10] “You’re supposed to shake hands with your adversary and treat them like respected opponents. And I don’t have any respect for Alan Dershowitz or Michael Hayden. Michael Hayden is a war criminal, I mean he belongs in the Haig, truly he implemented a system of torture.” Greenwald

[00:23:50] “Ian O’Sullivan asked a question I’d love to ask you. Why doesn’t Snowden use Facebook, he would be huge on social media, so why isn’t Snowden on any of the platforms?” Jesse

“Well, I mean he doesn’t use Facebook because he hates Facebook. They’re one of the worst violators of privacy in history. That would be really weird, nobody should use Facebook.” Greenwald

[00:24:40] “It’s always 1958 when it comes to Russian in the US.” Greenwald

[00:29:07] “Under President Obama there have been 7 prosecutions of whistle blowers or sources. People who give information to journalists that the government doesn’t want out. Under this 1917 statue called The Espionage Act which is designed to criminalize decent during World War I. In all of American history prior to President Obama there were a grand total of 3 cases, 3 prosecutions. So he has more than doubled the number just in his 6 years these type of prosecutions. As compared to ever other president prior to him combined. What this is about is trying to shut off every valve that exists for any information to get to the public other than the information that the government chooses to get to the public. If you live in a state where the only information given to the public is given what the government chooses to give to the public you live in a state of propaganda.” Greenwald

[00:36:07] Karen McCrimmon

[00:43:56] “My question is about love. One of the things I find remarkable in reading over Snowden’s statements. I think in the Guardian article called ‘I Spy’ in particular. He talks a lot of love, he says ‘I don’t want to live in a world where we can’t express love, creativity and have relationships online’. And this struck me as really out of place coming from a person who’s very intellectual and very brainy and very nerdy, and talks about encryption a lot and uses a lot of abstract terms to talk about what he’s doing. He doesn’t very often get to the heart of things. But this sort of struck me as being at the heart of his motivation and I was wondering if you could just say a few words about that. I know it moves a long way from the political, but I think it’s at the heart of our political relationship with each other, our friendships, our relationships, our ability to be creative to do what we’re doing right now” Audience member.

“I think it’s profound and it’s also insightful about Snowden’s motivation that’s not easy to apprehend. That is a fascinating topic to me and I’ll just for the moment say that I gave a TED talk I think a month ago in Brazil where you can find online really easily. Where I talk about this idea that if you’re not one of the bad people, the people plotting terror attacks or engaging in violent crimes. Instead a good person, a person who goes to work and comes home and raises their kid and watches TV that you’re not doing bad things and therefore you don’t have anything to hide and you don’t care if the government is invading your privacy cause you don’t think they’re are interested in what it is you’re doing. I talk about the critical/central role that privacy plays in the role of all of us, and not just people doing bad things like committing terrorism and the like. And when I was in Hong Kong it was critical for me to understand the motive that lead Snowden to do what he did because I wanted to make certain that I wasn’t participating in unraveling somebodies life that hadn’t given extremely careful and deep thought to why this was worth doing. And I asked him many many times over the course of hours and days for this explanation. Why was this worth it to him, I mean he had a very stable life he had a girlfriend who loved him, he had a lucrative career, he had a family that was supportive and a great life in Hawaii. Why was he willing to throw it all away in the pursuit of this abstract political ideal. He gave a lot of answers that weren’t quite persuasive until he talked about what you just raised which was he said that growing up the way he grow up which was pretty poor. He didn’t even finish high school, he grew up in this very cloistered suburb in norther Virginia near the military industrial complex. That he had a very kind of narrow world and the internet is what let him explore not only the world but other people and ultimately himself. He could speak to people around the world with whom he would never otherwise communicate. He could experiment with ideas that he would never willing to express if it were attached to his name. He would try out different personalities and identities. All of which was possible exclusively because he was able to do it in a realm of privacy. He said he didn’t want to live in a world where that was lost. He wasn’t willing to live in that world. And the reason that was so important to him and it’s something I’ve given so much thought about over the last year and a half is because as human beings There’s all types of studies that demonstrate this to be true. I think our own human experience proves it even more, when we think we’re being watched our behavior changes radically. We become much more conformist, we become much more compliant, we make the choices that are the byproduct not of our own agency but of the expectations of social orthodoxy and convention. It’s really only in this private realm where we can explore intimacy and as you say love and friendship and different ways of thinking and being and creative and dissent and all exclusively resides in this realm of privacy where we can act without other eyes being cast upon us and making judgments. And that is something that is crucial to Snowden’s evolution as a person. The ability to have this private realm online where so many people especially younger ones don’t just by books and make travel arrangements. They develop who they are as people, and make human connections. All of that is severely crippled if not completely destroyed when we live in a world of mass surveillance where the internet is converted into a place where we can always be watched and monitored. That’s what you said so insightful is that yeah he talks about encryption about surveillance technology but ultimately it was a deeply human perspective that drove him to do what he did. Deeply noble and selfless, because he wanted these connections that can be made exclusively in a world where there is privacy that continues to flourish and he knew that what was being destroyed and that more than anything drew him to do what he did so excellent observation.” Greenwald