State of Surveillance

2016 ,    »  -   26 Comments
Ratings: 9.42/10 from 490 users.

As you read this, your government could be thumbing through your contacts, reviewing your text messages and uploading the photos you have stored on your phone without your knowledge. This is the new reality in a post-9/11 age. Most citizens around the globe were first made aware of this troubling phenomenon through the controversial actions of whistleblower Edward Snowden. In their new documentary titled State of Surveillance, VICE travels to Russia, where Snowden currently lives safe from persecution by the United States, to probe the depths of his particular area of expertise.

As discussed in the early section of the film, the most recent example of the U.S. government's dominance over privately owned digital devices was made clear in the aftermath of the San Bernadino terrorist shootings. After haggling with Apple over a means of gaining access to the perpetrator's phone, the government managed to hack it on their own. But that's a capability they've had all along, claims Snowden.

At a table sitting across from VICE host Shane Smith, Snowden performs a dissection of a common cellular phone - the kind used by many billions of people all over the world. He illustrates how the innards of every phone can act as pathways through which institutions can track your every move.

The intrusion doesn't stop with your cell phone or laptop device. Drone surveillance - the spying technology which allows organizations like the CIA to keep watch on suspected terrorist activities in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan - are now being employed by the U.S. government on their own home soil. In many cases, these drones are not being used to detect potential terrorist threats, but rather citizen-led protests such as the one which recently occurred in Ferguson, Missouri. According to Snowden and other figures interviewed in the film, missions like these are driven by the government's desire to suppress and deter the will and the rights of their people.

Apathy and ignorance will only breed a further deterioration of our rights to privacy. State of Surveillance understands that insidious security breaches like these will continue to occur until the public becomes more aware and vocal in their disapproval.

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26 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Person

    Manufactured consent makes it all possible. What better way to spy on the masses than through convenience and entertainment.

  2. terry

    life is about to soon show more changes, the whole world is broke,
    as we know there is little to offer if you are short of the green stuff.

  3. Tigerlilly

    Why are people so worried about being spied on? If one is worried about being caught then uh... that person should probably be caught.

    Watch... I'm going to go to prison for saying that XD

  4. anoymous

    A true visionary, wish more could see what the future holds for us all.

  5. Gaia Citizen

    I think it's time for US and all Earth citizens alike to realize this is not just a US issue and it affects all of us equally. I think it's time to get our Planet back!

  6. oQ

    Snowden is narrowing his vision on the essential.

  7. steven L. Jones

    Nothing to hide. Been on a protest lately? Had kinky sex in front of someone's hopefully turned off computer? It might affect your next job interview and you'd never know. Have a political point of view, feel strongly about the environment, poverty, etc. Trying to get that loan but don't understand why you can't. How far in that direction have we already traveled? Absolute control over ever living soul. Best to avoid news stories like these and be thoroughly a conservative bot. Maybe this won't happen today but it could be tomorrow.

  8. Wendolyn

    Snowden is a total genius hero. Steven L. Jones is totally right. In future, we might get even more oppressive governments, or corporations with more control, and we will not be able to say or do anything against it to get our human rights back, cuz they know EVERYTHING about us.

  9. Jeff

    Great stuff, but scary.

    Also, why can't we have men like Eric Snowden as leaders? We always get the cowardly, greedy, self-serving, delusional, power-hungry nut-jobs that manage to rise to the top. Like so many 'floaters,' I guess.

  10. JR

    Anyone who knows your cell phone number, can buy an app. to track you. Anyone, like thieves, stalkers, jealous partners. I know someone that when they went to work people were going into their house. They were taking things and adulterating their food and beverages. They bought a camera surveillance system, and noticed the loop in the footage. They looked it up online and found out for $15.00 you can buy a frequency jammer. And it's not like this person was rich or had expensive things. So it's not just government and corporations. It could be your crazy neighbor with too much time on their hands.

  11. Looking

    o-oh. Boston bombing. Snowden fingering the patsies - no mention of Craft International. Snowden is a pseudo - unfortunately.

  12. bungabunga

    of course (((vice))) calls ferguson a "citizen led protest"

  13. NoMane Name

    I remember reading recently about a new company in florida that has in store or will store a complete profile of every single American, ready for express access. Most all that I could imagine might be stored in each of these profiles. If I remember correctly.

  14. Ryan

    To that id**t Tiger Lily: "Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say"

  15. trax

    It's funny that Vice will speculate about the horrors of Trump getting his hands on this surveillance power....but not Hillary. Very telling.

  16. Julia 100

    Primitive tribes Life African Tribes Traditions Rituals And Ceremonies Tribes

  17. Krish B

    While Tiger Lily may have a point that we should (theoretically) have nothing to hide, let me propose a scenario. There could be some people who may have interests in something that is not seen as socially normal. Now with data being collected on everybody, there is no guarantee that any information will be privately held by the government. If one of these people then plan to apply for a government position, they may be rejected simply based on something in their private life. What people do in their private life should typically not play a role in a professional career. There will of course be some exceptions to this, but who has the right to determine that. Furthermore, in saying that someone is not qualified because of something in their personal life, it is directly affecting this individual's right to self determination. It is hard to answer the question when does surveillance go too far. If the government is going to continue such surveillance activities, then there should be no interference with the organizations that are tasked to keep these surveillance programs in check and ensure that the public's rights (which these agencies are tasked to protect) are guaranteed. The issue then becomes that these agencies will say that their hands are tied, which is where our society needs to decide whether we want to compromise our rights for safety or vice versa.

  18. Ariadne P

    It's saddening how no leader from any government has ever done anything for the benefit of the people. Think about it

  19. scott

    True visionary it is, Tigerlilly people are not worried for that reason. Wake up :)

  20. Ballsrog

    @Tigerlilly, let's say for the sake of argument, that everything the government says you shouldn't do, you shouldn't (obvious bs that is though) what happens when the government does things it DEFINETELY shouldn't (for the sake of power and or money and usually at a detriment to justice and freedom and the survival of the planet) and instead of people rising up together to change things, they're jailed or disapeared? You're too trusting of people just because they're "in charge", and or ignorant on the subject of human nature.


    What about the idea that yes they are surveilng us but only to catch the people who would commit violence! What about that?? How else could they prevent stuff they have to surveil us. Lets face it if you dont have anything to hide you dont have anything to worry about. Not to mention if everyone who smoked a joint were caught or in jail it would be half the population, well that maybe an exaggeration but you get the point. They are going for violent criminal crazies! Brought to you by

  22. Sooph1e

    Superb piece! Althought I wish they'd have delved deeper into the issue and perhaps made the docu longer, it is still some of the most valuable information about the shadow government and a powerful message that no one is safe from intelligence agencies' black programs.

  23. Ms.Bobbi

    This was extremely great to show people who are really naive to the state of surveilence in the our country and world today. It is short, only half hour long so really not a major time investment and things are explained in a way that doesn't require a masters degree in technology and communication devices to understand. I encourage everyone to watch this and share it with friends who may be naive to the current state of things as well. Knowledge is power and we as a people have to start paying serious attention to the things our government is up to because it's already gotten this far out of hand because we have been asleep at the wheel for a very long time! We all have to tune back in and start getting involved and demanding our elected officials start working towards returning this country to a place of freedom and liberty instead of the police state of surveilence, oppression and mass incarceration it has become! WAKE UP AMERICA!

  24. Cyborg009

    "Why are people so worried about being spied on? If one is worried about being caught then uh... that person should probably be caught."

    You are assuming what is okay/harmless will always be so.

    Here is a joke:
    Three men are sitting in a cell in the (KGB headquarters) Dzerzhinsky Square. The first asks the second why he has been imprisoned, who replies, "Because I criticized Karl Radek." The first man responds, "But I am here because I spoke out in favor of Radek!" They turn to the third man who has been sitting quietly in the back, and ask him why he is in jail. He answers, "I'm Karl Radek."

  25. MamaB

    I really liked the ending phrase in what he said about what is coming and confronting the issue of our political elected leaders. It almost sounds frightening but in reality, when more of our society becomes aware then, more people would be willing to take a stand and not feel threatened anymore by the government who we've entrusted.
    As the rapid growth of informational technology increases, the more it will be understood.
    The problem here is that, too many folks are too engaged with other social media outlets where they are actually missing the point. We are in an age of newly innovated technology that sometime we are getting distracted by the things that please our eyes while our visionaries are bringing to the forefront exactly what we should all be learning as the technology evolves around us.
    It's new age technology and it's available to us by these very individuals. We just have to open our minds too it and not get trapped in the social world of likes and status.

  26. NSA

    This is a bunch of shenanigans!

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