It is now almost two years since whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked classified information on the surveillance activities of the NSA and its allies in the GCHQ and other agencies around the world. Eighteen months later Laura Poitras’ film Citizenfour about Snowden was released, and four months after that it won an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. Another film, this one a biopic directed by Oliver Stone entitled Snowden, is due out at the end of this year.
To the chagrin of the authorities and the tech giants, the story has refused to die.
However, despite hugely increased public awareness of intrusions into privacy by government agencies and corporate interests alike, on the surface the situation in the UK seems remarkably unaltered.
“GCHQ surveillance probably hasn’t changed at all,” said Mike Harris, director of campaigning consultancy 89up, one of the UK distributors ofCitizenfour, at the 44Con Cyber Security event in London this week.
“And the law hasn’t been reformed – in fact the three main parties ganged up to bash though even more Draconian legislation.”
However, Harris sees a number hopeful signs that many things are moving in a different direction. In spite of a rearguard action by the security services the momentum now lies with those demanding more respect for personal privacy and an end to warrant-less mass surveillance, he told Computing.