Useful Idiots (still more adventures in surveillance part v)

Your host discovers you can’t beat the Russians at the fake game and ToE’s Chris reviews Oliver Stone’s Edward Snowden. Plus: Vladislav Surkov and the Potemkin Panopticon. snowdenrussia  

8 comments on Useful Idiots

  1. Dylan says:

    Hi. Loved the show.

    Where can I hear more from the guy who talked to you in the second half of the show about Surkov?

    Thanks! Keep up the great work!!


    1. Jose says:

      Hi Dylan,

      Charles Maynes is a journalist; but he is also a terrific radio producer, who made some of my favourite audio pieces. To be honest, I was gleefully surprised to hear him talk with Benjamen. He has done a few pieces for PRX; below is a link to two of his most prominent pieces (Three Records from Sundown won the Director’s Choice award at Third Coast International):


  2. Austin says:

    Hi, have you considered discussing the Free and Open Source Software movement? Open source security software solves a lot of the paranoia problem, that this episode starts to address. FYI, Signal is open source, so there probably isn’t a back door in it. Also, open-source software doesn’t suffer from the same conflict of interest problem you mentioned a while back in one of your episodes on algorithms (I think it’s one of the “Enchanting by Numbers”). You mentioned a law of algorithms named after some Airline executive, wherein the algorithms serve the companies that create them, rather than the end-user. But if the community of end-users is actually designing the software, you escape this issue. Additionally, a lightweight open source operating system, such as Linux mint 18 Xfce, might solve the laptop issue you discuss in the “The Escapers.”
    Check out these links.
    I hope this is interesting, and I haven’t told you a bunch of things you already know. It just seems that as you describe the problems with our digital world, your practically laying out a case study in the disadvantages of closed source proprietary software, and the benefits of open source.

  3. Sue says:

    So, in your podcast on ‘Useful Idiot’ this is a send up right? If not why is your guest commenting on Oliver Stones fictional account of Snowden??? Why not Citizen4 — isn’t this a little bit of elevating fiction to fact????

  4. Vlad Stoica says:

    How cool is Chris!

  5. Fred says:

    Timothy McVeigh, useful idiot?

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