Anti-surveillance activist Edward Snowden has teamed up with French New Age/trance producer Jean-Michel Jarre to create the above music video. And it looks and sounds like a “hacking” montage from a bad, mid-2000s European C.S.I. knockoff. Two minutes in, the music calms to accommodate a brief, vague monologue from Snowden about the importance of protecting privacy, ending with the question “And if you don’t stand up for it, who will?” Jean-Michel Jarre, apparently. Watch as he rides the Moscow subway, going about his hacktivist business, all the while “tracked” by some government agency through the magic of geographically-mismatched stock satellite footage.
If you’re wondering why this terrible, terrible thing exists, there’s a second, six-minute “making of” video to answer your questions with the help of even more over-used Final Cut effects:
I cannot watch this video without thinking it’s a parody cybersecurity and/or Muzak infomercial from Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Good Job. I also cannot watch this without alternately laughing and cringing. Edward Snowden explaining electronic music is probably one of the most awkward things ever captured on camera, including the phrase “As an engineer, as someone who’s not really ‘cool’, it’s somewhat of a treat to be invited to collaborate on a big cultural project.”
This might be the worst thing to happen to the image of “hacktivism” since people started wearing those Guy Fawkes masks. I usually agree with 90% of what Edward Snowden has to say, but this is really not the anthem the movement needs.