Writing this review might spell unprecedented doom to me as I am reviewing a book written by a fugitive, a ‘leaker’ and a man who values truth more than the rest of the world. At the age of 29, Edward Snowden was willing to put everything in his life to gamble in order to form a voice of truth about the mass surveillance state happening around the world to be promulgated to everyone.
The book encompassed Ed’s life from young till present (2018-ish). His childhood days are akin to a hacker’s, as Edward defined hacking as an action taken to bypass a system, not only in the computing world but also in the real world. He was inspired by his parents to take up the mantle of being a technologist. All I can say about his parents is that they nailed parenting and managed to bring up one of the brightest person in the world. For instance, his father personally taught him programming when he was still young and did not punish him for his budding curiousity but instead cultivating Edward into who he is today.
After his primary days, he had been sucked into the Internet. His parents even bought him a computer and installed the Internet for him to explore with. The internet back in those days are very different than of today’s as it is regarded as a free-state for everyone to go into in order to share their thoughts. It takes effort to even set up the Internet back in those days, so the Internet only consisted of people who are really keen in sharing their knowledge and passion. Edward loved the aspect of being a nonentity in the Internet, and exploited it to learn more knowledge. He regarded that he did not learn much in the school systems so he shifted his focus mainly learning from the Internet. Ed essentially needed to hack the school system in order to buy more Internet time for himself, and he did.
Around his highschool days, he capitalised on the knowledge that he had for technology and used it to earn a side income from his crush (a married woman who was older than him by about 10 years) and he admitted that partly also that he was so motivated to work for her because of the crush on her.
9/11 happened, and everything changed. The ‘patriotism’ in Edward sparked and he enrolled for the military. He went trough a lot and almost lost both his legs to the army during training. Fortunately, he was released by the army as he signed some papers so that any future harm done to his body could not be blamed back to the military.
Edward gradually realised that he needed to be back in the technology field once more. He worked for various government agencies such as NSA and CIA. Using his talents and brilliance, he managed to create softwares and integrated systems. His brain children brought him up to the top of the ladder in less than a decade. After understanding what he was doing for the government is wrong and also the dark secrets of the government, he decided to take a leap of faith and be the ‘leaker’.
“Patriotism is not being loyal to a country or whatever; patriotism is doing good for the people of the country consistently.”
Holding through to his principles, he schemed against the government in order to tell the world about the truth behind the mass surveillance state and the unruly governing of the government. He sacrificed everything, literally. He went on exile, and currently is in Russia.
In the meantime, every man has a woman behind him, supporting him. This book also illustrate the hardships gone through by Lindsay and Edward, showing how disturbing the government can be.
9/10, definitely will recommend anyone or everyone to read about him and his words. Revealing some surprising truths that you might not even know, like how your smartphone is leaves your permanent record of metadata and many more.
Craving for more? Down below:
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl (Book Review)
Falling at The Verge of Greatness.
21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari (Book Review)
The Question Is: You Want Or Not?