Jean-Michel Jarre Celebrates Digital Privacy with Edward Snowden Tribute in Bratislava Concert

Posted on Monday, May 13, 2024 by Lubos RendekNo comments

Renowned French electronic music pioneer, Jean-Michel Jarre, captivated audiences in Bratislava with a powerful tribute to whistleblower Edward Snowden during his latest concert on April 12, 2024. The event, titled "Bridge from the Future," held at the Incheba Exhibition Ground near the SNP Bridge, marked the opening of the prestigious Starmus Festival's seventh edition, an international celebration connecting science, music, and art.

The concert, sponsored by ESET a software company specializing in cybersecurity, was offered free of charge, highlighting the festival's commitment to making cultural events accessible to the public. Jean-Michel Jarre took this opportunity not just to entertain, but to make a profound statement on the critical importance of privacy and security in today's digital world.

A Musical Homage to Privacy and Freedom

During the concert, Jarre introduced a special track called "Exit," which he revealed was co-written with Edward Snowden. In a heartfelt address to the crowd, Jarre explained, "This next track has a story. I wrote it with a very special collaborator, Edward Snowden, a modern-day hero who still pays the price today for speaking up for the protection of our private data, freedom of speech, and digital security. These values are at the heart of democracy and a better future for all."

Snowden, who joined the event via a recorded message, shared his thoughts on why personal privacy should be safeguarded with the same rigor as personal property. "The question is, why are our private details that are transmitted online any different than the details in our private journals?" Snowden said. He emphasized the collective importance of rights, stating, "Rights are not just individual; they're collective. What may not have value to you today may have value to an entire population tomorrow."

Technology can actually increase privacy!
The question is: Why are our private details that are transmitted online or stored on our personal devices any different than the details in our private journals? I think it's akin to saying you don't care about privacy because you have nothing to hide, which is no different than saying you don't care about freedom of speech because you have nothing to say. This is a deeply anti-social principle because rights are not just individual, they're collective. What may not hold value for you today may be valuable to an entire population, an entire people, an entire way of life tomorrow. If you won't stand up for it, then I will.

- Edward Snowden


An Event Fusing Science and Art

The Starmus Festival, set to run from May 12 to May 17, promises a week of activities blending science and music in the heart of Bratislava and Slovak universities. The opening concert, apart from featuring Jarre, also saw a special appearance by Brian May, the legendary guitarist of Queen and a co-founder of Starmus. According to organizers, this collaboration between two legends served as a thrilling celebration of human ingenuity and artistic expression.

The concert's location, next to the iconic SNP Bridge, was specifically chosen for its symbolic representation of bridging past and future, a theme resonant throughout the festival's programming. Festival attendees with tickets enjoyed a dedicated viewing area, ensuring a memorable experience for every participant.

ESET: Europe’s Cybersecurity Pioneer

The concert’s main sponsor, ESET, s.r.o., is a major player in the cybersecurity industry, specializing in software development. Founded in 1992 in Bratislava, Slovakia, ESET has a rich history that dates back to 1987 when co-founders Miroslav Trnka and Peter Paško created their first antivirus program, NOD. This project among friends quickly evolved into a full-fledged antivirus software company. Today, ESET stands as the largest privately held cybersecurity company in Europe, offering products that provide essential protection across more than 200 countries. Its software, made in Europe, is available in over 30 languages, reflecting its global reach and commitment to securing digital landscapes worldwide.

A Legacy of Innovation and Advocacy

Jean-Michel Jarre's performance in Bratislava is a testament to his enduring influence in the music world and his commitment to societal issues. By integrating themes of digital security into his musical narrative, Jarre continues to inspire a dialogue on crucial issues facing today's digital society.

As the world navigates the complexities of digital rights and personal privacy, events like the Starmus Festival provide not only entertainment but also essential platforms for discussion and advocacy. Through the universal language of music, Jean-Michel Jarre and like-minded artists and scientists invite us to contemplate and act on the challenges of our digital age.

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