“Here’s why I make movies. I don’t like lies.” – Oliver Stone
Over the course of a career that now stretches nearly as long as J.F.K’s life span, Oliver Stone has been relentlessly driven to make movies with real world impact, and his latest venture, Snowden, is a story for our times. In many ways, it’s the story of our times.
On the surface Snowden is certainly a movie about its title character, Edward Snowden, who unveiled a secret mass surveillance program that even Congress was unaware of. But more broadly, it’s about the labyrinth of digital surveillance we now find ourselves lost in and the roiling cyber-warfare that’s constantly being waged behind our screens that most are blissfully unaware of.
Last week, Stone joined BitTorrent’s Jeremy Johnson from Europe over video-call for a conversation on digital privacy as an essential civil right, how the centralization of the internet has enabled a select few to wreak mass digital havoc, the frightening state of cyber-warfare and much more.
“[The development of cyber warfare]; in a way, it was like dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.” – Oliver Stone
Stone’s movies have always been at their most powerful when they draw connections between the world we see and the world of truth, and in conversation he possesses the same ability to weave together the past, present and future.
Stone connected the current state of cyber-warfare and the U.S.’ believed Stuxnet virus strike against Iran to Truman’s decision to unleash the first atomic bomb, both instances when U.S. leaders set off a global arms race by striking with a weapon that others adopted and then turned against the U.S.
“This is what the German government offered their people in 1933, and this is what 1984 was about, too,” said Stone, delving into his belief that governments have long convinced people to give up their personal rights in the name of protection.
“They always equate security with your rights,” he went on to say, insisting that despite many Americans’ belief that they live in a land of unparalleled freedom, in fact digital surveillance is a form of totalitarianism.
“The global surveillance state is something that we set up. And at the same time, we never ran it by the people. There was no consent. The government should be beholden to the people, but that concept seems to have gone out the window. We have to fight back.” – Oliver Stone
Snowden is in theaters now, and BitTorrent Now users can get even more clips and extras from the film via the Snowden bundle.