…there’s no question the entire structure of the internet has changed since 2013. The world’s biggest technology companies, good and bad, for privacy, have re-engineered the kind of protections that we experience… Our laws have changed. Our international standards have changed. But the most important thing–and this is what I think people forget–is you don’t look for some guy to come out of the building and save the world, that’s not how life works. What 2013 did–the most important thing that no one can ever change–is before 2013, the idea of mass surveillance, people knew it was possible, there were technologists and academics and people who suspected this was going on, but it was kind of a conspiracy theory because it was a suspicious and that distance between suspicion and fact is everything in a democracy. That is all we have in a free society because if we can’t agree on what is happening, how can we decide what we should do about it? Government in a democracy derives its legitimacy from the consent of the governed, and the biggest problem in 2013 was that consent is only meaningful if it’s informed, and they lied to us.
Edward Snowden [The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, 9/20/19]