In 365 days everything can happen. In 2013, we have seen great entrepreneurs making history, interesting marketing campaigns and startups that are innovating day by day. What we haven’t covered till now is that side of the river where the freedom fighters live. I am talking about companies such as Wikileaks and people like Julian Assange, who is still living in the ecuadorian embassy without any chance to leaving the United Kingdom.
These people every day fight for an aim, they want to see knowledge and information shared around the world. They want to let us know how people are killed in Afghanistan or how governments are spying us in a way they are not allowed to do. They are not thieves, they are not criminals, they are just curious people who have come across horrible things that can’t be hidden from the public.
We think this year many people have achieved great things, but we believe that one man has changed everything. Edward Snowden is the Person of the Year. He’s the guy who has faced the most powerful country in the world in order to let us know how the US government and in particular the NSA is controlling and spying us. This guy has stood for people’s rights and the only thing he got back was a non return ticket to Russia.
We should all be thankful to him and his leaks that have showed us what the NSA is really doing. An agency that should work toward the protection of citizens and peace is constantly spying them. The PRISM program, which was leaked by Edward Snowden to journalists of The Washington Post and The Guardian, pointed out the fact that we are constantly controlled by the US government no matter we are Italians or English. The most astonishing thing was knowing that several technologies companies such as Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, Google, Paltalk, AOL, Skype and Apple have all taken part and contributed.
People must know these things, it’s their right to know that their privacy doesn’t exist anymore, because the big brother is always watching us. What we criticise is the extensive use of “criminal activity” against the Constitution itself to investigate normal citizens who are living their normal and quite life. There would be a sense to all of this, if it was really used to fight terrorism, which just seems an excuse to spy everyone for the only purpose to rule the world. If you want to spy us because you do it for our “own good”, at least let us know before you start doing it.
“There is a huge difference between legal programs, legitimate spying … and these programs of dragnet mass surveillance that put entire populations under an all-seeing eye and save copies forever … These programs were never about terrorism: they’re about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They’re about power.”
What we can’t understand is why people are still wondering if Edward Snowden is a hero, a whistleblower, a dissident, a traitor or a patriot. When you see that your government is archiving data just to be more powerful, it’s your right to stand against it. Snowden is not a traitor, he is a hero. He is one of those people who sacrificed their lives to make the world a better place. We don’t know where he’s going to live in the next fifty years, but we are pretty sure that is not going to be an easy life. That’s why the people should stand on his side to make him free.
We wish to see more people like Edward Snowden and Elon Musk in 2014. This year has been an incredibly profitable year in terms of innovations and knowledge, but there is still a lot to do and we believe this is just the beginning. We hope to see Julian Assange again in a public place without trying to hide from governments that want to arrest him for what he has leaked. We hope to see a world without any war. We hope to see people creating beautiful things not just for money, but because they love doing it. We hope to see a world where every human being truly understands the words of Muhammad Yunnus:
All human beings are entrepreneurs. When we were in the caves, we were all self-employed…finding our food, feeding ourselves. That’s where human history began. As civilization came, we suppressed it. We became “labor” because they stamped us, “You are labor”. We forgot that we are entrepreneurs. (Muhammad Yunnus, Nobel Peace Prize winner and microfinance pioneer)