In a world consumed by technology and languages written in binary codes, where distrust is common and privacy isn’t really what it’s supposed to be, Edward Snowden sought to fix it. Some of you may find his name entirely foreign, but those who find it familiar may have heard of the great espionage of 2013.
Formerly a computer systems administrator in the CIA, he later worked for a private intelligence contractor inside the National Security Agency (an intelligence agency in the United States) outpost in Japan. His name came to light when he disclosed thousands of classified documents that he had acquired while working as a contractor for the NSA, making it one of the most significant leaks in U.S history. And for committing such treason, he had his passport cancelled by the United States and was granted a political asylum in Russia. However, before accusing him of his actions, it was best if people actually knew what kind of classified information he had decided to tell the world.
Edward Snowden’s leaks had led to the discovery of the existence of numerous global surveillance programs, many of them run by the NSA. But one of the most significant global surveillance programs conducted by the NSA that came to public attention was, in fact, domestic. The NSA had been collecting records of every phone call in the U.S. and also managed to infiltrate the data clouds of Google and Yahoo, from which the data of Americans could be collected (emails etc.). This was, of course, a violation of privacy. There was also information regarding the United States spying on several European countries, which could breach expected levels of cooperation.
The public’s response to the NSA leaks was an incredible mix of both positive and negative responses. Some regarded Edward Snowden as a traitor and a whistle-blower (a person who informs on a person or organization regarded as engaging in an unlawful or immoral activity); while others (including WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange) regarded him as a hero and a patriot.
“All I can say right now is the U.S. Government is not going to be able to cover this up by jailing or murdering me. Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped.”
– Edward Snowden, interview for The Guardian, June 2013
-Loo Yan Ling(3U)