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TIFF: Why stars of Snowden are sticking Band-Aids on their webcams

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-4-01-23-pmBy Richard Crouse – Metro Canada

At it’s very core, Snowden is about privacy and how much of it you can expect to enjoy every time you turn on your computer or pick up your mobile phone.

The story of Edward Snowden — an American computer whiz who leaked classified information from the National Security Agency to The Guardian — has been reimagined for the big screen and premiered at TIFF on Friday.

“Unfortunately,” says controversial director Oliver Stone, “Edward Snowden has warned us, more than once, about privacy and he says in the movie the next generation won’t know what privacy is.”

Snowden uncovered widespread snooping by the U.S. government that may have violated the civil liberties of millions of people. Zachary Quinto, who plays journalist Glenn Greenwald in the film, says working on Snowden made him think differently about even simple Internet searches.

“I became more aware of our vulnerability while working on this film and took specific measures to protect myself in ways I hadn’t before,” he said.

“I had this experience the other night. I was shopping for a washer and dryer online. I was Googling the consumer ratings. I left that search and went to another website and immediately the pop up ads on this other website, which had nothing to do with consumer reports or shopping, were about washers and dryers. What we are willing to sacrifice in our privacy without even thinking about it for convenience sake, what we’re willing to give up in our own freedoms and interests just in sitting down at our computers is shocking.

“You can take precautions. You can take steps to enact two-step verifications and put tape over your laptop (camera) and  strengthen your passwords but all you need to do is shop for appliances and you are exposing yourself to some kind of tracking, a collection of data.”

Co-star Shailene Woodley, who plays the whistleblowing title character’s girlfriend Lindsay Mills, takes simple precautions to ensure privacy. “I have a Band Aid over my computer (camera),” she says. “Privacy is a privilege now and it is only a privilege if you are privy to the fact that it is a privilege because it is not something you inherently have as a human being in 2016.”

What Joseph Gordon-Levitt has to say about ‘Band-Aids’

“Working on this movie made me much more thoughtful about how the whole internet works. Everyone has asked me about the Band-Aid over the webcam. I think that is a weird metaphor, an unintentional metaphor. ‘Oh yeah, this will fix it,’ but I don’t think it will,” said star Joseph Gordon-Levitt about people putting Band-Aids over their web cams to ensure privacy.

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