Citizen Four Homework Assignment
Answer the questions in the attached document in In order to receive full credit of UP TO 200 points you must:
1. Re-type the question in the attached questions for
reflection and then provide your answer in just a few succinct and informative sentences below the question posed. You do not need to write a novel, just a brief and well stated response is fine. Quality over quantity is the rule here.
2. Spelling, grammar, punctuation and content count. Please, if you're not sure, have someone proofread your work!
3. Handwritten, sloppy, brief, messy and lazy responses will receive little or no credit. It's time to bring your "A" game.
Submit your paper in the Turnitin Portal by Wednesday, December 20 @ 11:59 p.m. to receive credit for this assignment.
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Citizenf our Discussion Guide
Director: Loura Poitras
You might know this director trom:
The Oath (2010)
My Country,My Country (2006)
Flog Wars (2003)
Director Lauro Poitras was in the middle of her third documentary on post-9111 America when she received on
email from "Citizenfour," on individual claiming to possess insider information on the wide-scale surveillance
schemes of the U.S.government. Rother than brushing the message off as bogus, she pursued this mysterious
mailer,embroiling herself inone of the greatest global shockwaves of this millenniumthus far.
Teaming up with journalist Glenn Greenwald of "The Guardian."Poitras began her journey.The two travel to
Hong Kong.where they meet "Citizenfour ·an infrastructure analyst named Edward Snowden working inside
the Notional Security Agency.Joined by fellow Guardian colleague Ewen MacAskill,the four set up comp in
Snowden·s hotel room.where over the course of the following eight days he reveals o shocking protocol in effect
that will uproot the way citizens across the world view their leaders in the days to come.
Snowden does not wish to remain anonymous.and yet he insists "I'm not the story." In his mind the issues of
liberty.justice.freedom. and democracy are at stoke,and who he is has very little bearing on the intense
implications of the moss surveillance ineffect worldwide.Snowden reminds us. "It's not science fiction.This
is happening right now." and at times the extent of information is just too massive to grasp.especially for the
A courageous and damning human tole. CITIZENFOUR drives to our core and unearths what the powers that be
so extensively work to bury.Whether we investigate the man or the matter is up to us. Poitras·lens brings us the
unfiltered development of Snowden's world-altering decision.and leaves the rest to us.
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By throwing the blanket excuse of "terrorism" over every infringement of
privacy,the U.S. government is actively corroding democracy.Snowden
presents a fierce challenge.
The world drastically changed following September 11. 2001. In order to
tackle the apparent threats of terrorism. the U.S. government allocated
themselves for-reaching access to endless amounts of information in
the form of The Patriot Act. Every action was written off as o means of
tackling terrorism. When Snowden leaked the tsunami of damning proof
against multiple governments' mass surveillance programs of all citizens
– regardless of criminal records or terrorism links – the fullextent of the
surveillance become clear,with damning implications. Suddenly the lives
of each one of us wasn't as much our own as we envisioned.
Do democratic governments hove to defend their actions to their
citizens? According to most definitions of democracy. yes. The rules,
however.have changed in light of Snowden's revelations. If the NSA
is granted permission to do whatever it pleases in whichever manner.
with no limitations or accountability. liberty becomes corroded. An
unrestricted secret police replaces the previous system of checks and
balances. No longer con the home of the free declare itself to be o
country of on electorate and elected. but rather a ruling class and the
ruled. Moss surveillance has no time tor fair. transparent democracy.
By collecting personal information on millions of Americans, people's
civilliberties ore severely infringed upon. But what is privacy worth? How
essential is it to a free and open society? If every action and decision is
monitored.there is suddenly no space for protest or room for intellectual
questioning. If individuals begin self-monitoring the words they type into
search engines or the information they divulge online or over the phone.
intellectual advancement is curtailed. Privacy is at the core of freedom
and justice. Without the possibility of personally deciding what is public
and what is private, individuals relinquish the self and the state becomes
the sole deciding force.
Snowden repeated, "Iam not the issue." Well aware that the media was
blood-thirsty for personalities. o face onto which to attach stories, he
tread as carefully as he could.He hodno intention of hiding and believed
that by exposing himself. the information would be further validated. Yet
would it be possible to keep the spotlight on the issue and not on him
personally? It was a challenge. as the moss media proved how much it
adores a personality, often placing the issue in the backseat.
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1. How much did you know of the Edward Snowden case before
watching CITIZENFOUR? How did the film change/inform your
opinion of the case?
2. Do you think Snowden hod more of a moral responsibility to uphold
the oath he'd taken when accepting his role at the NSA. or to the
American people in revealing what he perceives as wrongdoings
against them? Would you label him a traitor or patriot? Discuss.
3. Are you concerned with "beingwatched" when you ore online.
speaking on a telephone. or conductingany sort of publicly visible
business? Do you self-police yourself online. remaining cautious of
which words you type into a search engine. etc.?
4. What ore the societalimplications when personal privacy is
forfeited? ls privacy essential for o functioning democracy?
S. What. if any,charges should be brought against Snowden? Should he
be punished? In your opinion.did he do anything wrong?
6. If you were in Snowden's shoes. would you have decided to remain
anonymous or revealed your identity? If Snowden had remained
anonymous. would the case have mode such an impact?
7. As Snowden stated.the media loves personalities. Why do you
believe this is and what hos brought this about? Discuss.
8. If you live in a democracy.do you think your right to free speech is
infringed upon at all? If you do not live in o democracy, how free ore
you to express your political opinions?
9. How is privacy equated with liberty and freedom? How important is
your personal privacy to you?
10. What level of surveillance should governments be allowed over their
citizens? When is the "protecting against terrorism and security" line
crossed and personal privacy infringed upon?
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• After its U.S. premiere at the New York Film • Snowden become the eighth person charged by Festival in October 2014, CITIZENFOUR went on the Obama administration with breaking the 1917 to swoop up on incredible amount of prestigious Espionage Act. This is more charges than handed awards and nominations. Awards include on out by all other administrations combined.
Oscar.a BAFTA. on International Documentary
Association award,as well as director Poitras • Director Lauro Poitras was born and raised winning an Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Boston,and was originally interested in
in Documentary from the Director's Guild of becoming a chef. However.ofter studying at the
America. Nominations include a CPH:DOX Award. Son Francisco Art Institute. she moved to New
a Chicago Film Critics Association Award, and York City to pursue filmmoking. CITIZENFOUR is
Documentary of the Year from the Gay and the third film in her post-9/11 trilogy.
Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association.
• In December 2014, CITIZENFOUR filmmakers • Poitras and Greenwald cofounded The Intercept. were sued by Horace Edwards, o former
a website reporting on the NSA documents secretary of the Kansas Department of
leaked by Snowden,as well as providing a Transportation, who sought to have the film's
platform to publish "fearless. adversarial proceeds reallocated to the U.S.Treasury.
journalism across a wide range of issues."
• Glenn Greenwald graduated with a BA in
• Originally established to decipher codes during Philosophy from George Washington University WWII,the Notional Security Agency (NSA) and a Juris Doctor from the New York University was officially founded by President Truman in School of Law. Before working as a journalist,
19S2. Today it is one of the largest intelligence he was a litigation lawyer dealing in U.S.
organizations in the United States, with on constitutional law and civilrights. He became a
estimated 2013 budget of $10.8 billion. contributing writer at Solon.com in 2007, and then joined "The Guardian" in August 2012,
• Following an interview with Edward Snowden in which he left in late 2013 to pursue his work with Moy 2014, NBC News ran a Twitter survey asking First Look Media. on independent media platform
listeners whether they considered Snowden a seeking "to improve society through journalism traitor or a patriot. 59% called him a patriot. and technology ·
while the remaining 41% branded him a traitor.
• "The Guardian" and "The Washington Post"
• In late 2014 Russia extended Snowden's asylum shored a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service,for with a three-year residency permit. articles published on the Snowden leaks.
WAYS TO INFLUENCE
1. Read Glenn Greenwold's account of the 11days he spent in Hong Kong with Snowden in his book. "No Place to
Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA. and the U.S. Surveillance State."
2. The Free Snowden website (edwardsnowden. com) offers many ways to help Snowden on a personal level.
including donating to his legal fees. as well as how to petition against moss surveillance.
3. In order to protect yourself against surveillance.make sure to reset your passwords often and to use long.
hard-to-crock passwords. Hord to remember them all? Use the password manager.
4. The Whistleblower Support Center and Archive provides unbiased assistance to whistleblowers and
maintains on online archive of their stories. Learn more. and consider donating to their cause.
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