This morning, readers of the news aggregation portal Reddit woke up to find that all their dreams were finally coming true.
For the first time since the NSA leaks started back in 2013, the trio of Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, and Laura Poitras would finally be answering questions together in an AMA leading up to the HBO premier of their Oscar-winning documentary, Citzenfour.
Members of the website wasted no time cutting through the noise and getting their most pertinent questions voted to the top of the pile, ranging from softballs like how daily life in Moscow was treating Snowden, to much deeper inquiries such as what the average citizen can do to bring the NSA issue to a head for the election in 2016.
Related: How the NSA has hacked your phone
On that subject, Snowden was cautious about our chances of convincing the current lot of politicians to change their position on the programs, but also made sure to emphasize that it’s up to us to be the change that we see in the world. “Organizing is important,” he said. “Activism is important…[and] we should remember that governments don’t often reform themselves.”
He followed the sentiment up by reinforcing the idea that the fight won’t be an easy one, and there will be countless hurdles on the way to fully regulating the actions of the rogue agency and its mass surveillance capabilities.
“I suspect that governments today are more concerned with the loss of their ability to control and regulate the behavior of their citizens than they are with their citizens’ discontent,” said the international whistleblower when quizzed about the problems we could face on the path toward privacy independence.
Despite the many commenters who tried to bring the vibe down throughout the crowd-sourced interview, the team remained positive about the progress we’ve made since the leaks first started. “Before 2013, if you said the NSA was making records of everybody’s phone calls and the GCHQ was monitoring lawyers and journalists, people raised eyebrows and called you a conspiracy theorist,” said Greenwald. “Those days are over. Facts allow us to stop speculating and start building, and that’s the foundation we’ll need to fix the Internet.”
One can only hope he’s right.
To read the transcript of the AMA in full you can check it out here, and in case you didn’t get a chance to see it in theaters, Citzenfour will premier tonight on HBO at 9PM ET/PT.