Is Edward Snowden a hero or a traitor … or would you rather not know?
The federal Courts have already said that the American Government acted illegally, so … is it right to break the law in order to expose or attempt to forestall a crime?
In everyday life we see officers of the law breaking the law in order to prevent crime. They speed, drive dangerously, run red lights, fatally shoot people, they directly and indirectly destroy lives each and every day of the year, and somehow, we are supposed to believe that in the case of Edward Snowden the same leniency should not apply.
Edward Snowden is an American citizen. He comes from a family well entrenched in government employment with some reaching the status of Intelligence operatives. He spent time in the Army Reserves, becoming a Special Forces candidate in 2004 which ultimately led to his working for the CIA. It was while working at DELL that Edward Snowden was an infrastructure analyst for the NSA’s information-sharing office in Hawaii. After raising his concerns about ethics and the legality of the NSA spying programs to officials, he was told to stay silent on the matter. In his words, he was “trained as a spy in the traditional sense of the word in that I lived and worked undercover overseas—pretending to work in a job that I’m not—and even being assigned a name that was not mine.” He said he’d worked for the NSA undercover overseas, and for the DIA had developed sources and methods to keep information and people secure “in the most hostile and dangerous environments around the world. So, when they say I’m a low-level systems administrator, that I don’t know what I’m talking about, I’d say it’s somewhat misleading”
On May 20, 2013, Snowden flew to Hong Kong after leaving his job at an NSA facility in Hawaii, and in early June he revealed thousands of classified NSA documents to journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Ewen MacAskill. Snowden came to international attention after stories based on the material appeared in The Guardian and The Washington Post. Further disclosures were made by other publications including Der Spiegel and The New York Times.
On Snowden’s 30th birthday, June 21, 2013, the United States Department of Justice unsealed charges against Snowden of two counts of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and theft of government property, following which the Department of State revoked his passport. Two days later, he flew into Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, where Russian authorities noted that his U.S. passport had been cancelled, and he was restricted to the airport terminal for over one month. Russia later granted Snowden the right of asylum with an initial visa for residence for one year, and repeated extensions have permitted him to stay at least until 2020.
In early 2016, he became the president of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a San Francisco-based organization that states its purpose is to protect journalists from hacking and government surveillance.
“I’m willing to sacrifice [my former life] because I can’t in good conscience allow the U.S. government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building,”
Everything you do online or through your mobile is being recorded by someone or something, period, full-stop.
ECHELON (Five Eyes): a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications
- The Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ) of the United kingdom
- The National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States of America
- The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) of Canada
- The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) of Australia
- The Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) of New Zealand
- (surveillance program) NSA collects internet communications from companies
- (surveillance program) NSA intercepts and stores all phone calls.
A map of the Nine Eyes countries
The Nine Eyes is a different arrangement that consists of the same members of Five Eyes working with Denmark, France, the Netherlands and Norway.
A map of the Fourteen Eyes countries
According to a document leaked by Edward Snowden, there is another working agreement among 14 nations officially known as SIGINT Seniors Europe, or “SSEUR“. These “14 Eyes” consist of the same members of Nine Eyes plus Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden
- All your phone conversations are being recorded
- PRISM as the NSA’s program to directly access the servers of U.S tech giants like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple, among others.
- The British spy agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), taps fiber optic cables all over the world to intercept data flowing through the global Internet, we learned. The GCHQ works closely with the NSA, sharing data and intelligence in a program that’s codenamed Tempora.
- NSA has spied on numerous world leaders and foreign governments.
- XKeyscore is a tool the NSA uses to search “nearly everything a user does on the Internet” through data it intercepts across the world. In leaked documents, the NSA describes it as the “widest-reaching” system to search through Internet data.
- What’s the point of tapping fiber optic cables if the data flowing through them is unreadable? That’s why the NSA has a developed a series of techniques and tricks to circumvent widely used web encryption technologies.
- The NSA, however, isn’t able to compromise the encryption algorithms underlying these technologies. Instead, it circumvents or undermines them, forcing companies to install backdoors, hacking into servers and computers, or promoting the use weaker algorithms.
- The NSA has at its disposal an elite hacker team codenamed “Tailored Access Operations” (TAO) that hacks into computers worldwide, infects them with malware and does the dirty job when other surveillance tactics fail.
- When bulk collection or PRISM fails, the NSA had other tricks up its sleeve: It could infiltrate links connecting Yahoo and Google data centers, behind the companies’ backs.
- The NSA, following its unofficial motto of “collecting it all,” intercepts 200 million text messages every day worldwide through a program called Dishfire.
- In leaked documents, the agency described the collected messages as a “goldmine to exploit” for all kinds of personal data.
- Other documents also revealed that the NSA can “easily” crack cellphone encryption, allowing the agency to more easily decode and access the content of intercepted calls and text messages.