Notes from Permanent Record — Autobiography by Edward Snowden

Photo by Random Institute on Unsplash

“There is no turning back, only going forward — for Mario and Luigi, for me, and for you. Life only scrolls in one direction, which is the direction of time, and no matter how far we might manage to go, that invisible wall will always be just behind us, cutting us off from the past, compelling us on into the unknown.”

Hacking system requires to know its (or part of its) rules better than the person who created.

When applying a job, the perfect philosophy is to think: say what you want, say who you are, never be ashamed. If they reject you, it’s their problem.

System administrator manages a whole system and over time try to make it more efficient and reduce the number of bugs. System engineer analyze a problem like how to store data better and solve it with combination of existing components and new ones.

System is just a bunch of parts that function together. Almost always the part that breaks is the reason for the breaking. Solving problem happens by finding where it break and then continuing from there until reaching the point where it happened.

“Something that is devastating for the public can be, and often is, beneficial to the elites.”

When NSA names something they don’t want it to tell about the project so they use naming generator that picks two random words and combines them.

When a country tries to track everyone, they can’t just record the phone calls and screens of everyone because it would require way too much space. They instead focus collecting metadata like how long a phone call lasted and who was the other person. They will collect more if the person is interesting.

Meta data allows analyze data at scale and also look very closely what happened but it can’t tell what was going inside your head.

Extreme justice might be bad because there are a lot of laws that people aren’t necessary following because they are outdated and then there are a lot of things that are in grey area like trashing. If it could be possible to follow everyone, all the time, everyone would be a criminal.

Even if you think that you could share everything publicly doesn’t mean everyone can. There are things like financial records or previous jobs that some people want to hide. “Saying that you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different from saying you don’t care about freedom of speech because you have nothing to say.”

“Nowhere is this more clear to me than in the case of the Rubik’s Cube, which satisfies a universal fantasy: that if you just work hard enough and twist yourself through all of the possibilities, everything in the world that appears scrabbled and incoherent will finally click into position and become perfectly aligned; that human ingenuity is enough to transform the most broken and chaotic system into something logical and orderly where every face of three-dimensional space shines with perfect uniformity.”