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Cyber State

Professor Sanjay Goel discusses the messages to take away from Snowden, the movie about the former CIA contractor who revealed secret documents detailing the gigantic U.S. government spying program.

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 27, 2016) -- The film Snowden has all the elements of a classic Hollywood thriller: government agents utilizing top-secret surveillance technologies to monitor unsuspecting enemies.

The only problem is the agents aren’t limiting their spying to cybercriminals and terrorists. Instead they are collecting data – in the form of phone logs, video chat records, text messages, images and videos – on every person in the United States.

The message from director Oliver Stone’s new movie about Edward Snowden, the former CIA contractor who revealed secret documents detailing the gigantic U.S. government spying program: We should be alarmed at how much power our intelligence agencies have, and how little regard they have for our privacy.

Professor Sanjay Goel
Information Technology Management Professor Sanjay Goel

"The extent and scope of their ability to intercept communications and collect information is mind-boggling," said Sanjay Goel, professor of Information Technology Management at UAlbany’s School of Business.

Goel wrote about the movie and the real-life Snowden for The Conversation, an international independent news organization that works with university and research institute experts to unlock their knowledge and promote better understanding of current affairs and complex issues.

While the film is best described as ‘fact-based’ fiction, it accurately portrays the systems in place to collect bulk data on every U.S. citizen, according to Goel, who also serves on the faculty of the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity. On the other hand, it also misleadingly suggests that all people are being continuously investigated, he said.

Still, in the wake of Yahoo announcing data from 500 million user accounts was stolen, the debate remains open – do we need more cybersecurity, and what level of privacy (if any) should be sacrificed to ensure our safety?

Read Goel’s complete article at The Conversation.

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