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Walking away from Citizenfour, I had mixed opinions. While the documentary was certainly revealing, it was a radically different perspective on an issue I previously thought I was fairly well informed on. I, therefore, can only assume that I am a prime example of the media-fed mass caught in a web of misinformation and skewed perspectives.

Let me be clear: I do not trust this film. Citizenfour paints Edward Snowden and his colleague Laura as whistleblowing heroes, out to serve justice on a corrupt system. As Professor Chun would say, “perhaps.” The reality is that regardless of Snowden’s best intentions or his selfless motivation, the NSA information leak which he caused revealed a great amount of confidential, private information that was potentially damaging and scored him his own critically acclaimed documentary and media celebrity status. It is valid to question whether the information he released should have been private or confidential in the first place, and what it actually means to be “private” in an age of the NSA tapping in, but there certainly may have been repercussions of his actions that go entirely unaddressed by the film. I appreciate that they put a personality behind the actions, and the film certainly paints him in a positive light opposed to the American media that responded with a heated debate over his criminal or savior status.

The shockwaves of Snowden’s actions will be felt for generations to come. The age of surveillance and control society has brought about a remarkable shift in the way we experience freedom. It can be seen where, in the movie, every hand raised at the question of whether people felt they have been watched. The static concept of freedom of years prior, idealistic in its penchant for unlimited expression and open will, has been shattered and cannot even been idealized any longer. Where we once could turn a blind eye to the tracking and metadata that very well may┬ábe occurring in our lives, we no longer can ignore corporate and government coding. The freedom that is idealized today, even in its most unrealistic sense, is still grounded with the undoubted recognition that our movements and participation in media and technology is being tracked. We will still work toward and aspire toward freedom, but it will not be achieved, and I think people recognize this even without Citizenfour our media theorists’ writings on the topic. It is a historic cultural change. Unfortunately, in my lifetime, I do not foresee us regaining faith in the land of the free.