aNewDomain.net — NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, still exiled in Russia, demonstrates the power of one in his recently-released video. In his Christmas message to the U.S., released to British media, Snowden announced his “mission accomplished.” He said he’d wanted to generate a debate about privacy in the modern world and, as a result of his leaks and all the media coverage around them, he succeeded.
Many voices call Snowden now a whistle blower. The NYT editorial board explained:
Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community.” Read more.
Watch the Snowden video below.
Video credit: PBS YouTube Channel
In his interview Snowden warned:
A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They’ll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves [or] an unrecorded, unanalysed thought. And that’s a problem because privacy matters … privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be.”
Snowden said his primary reason for leaking NSA documents was because he believed the public deserved the right to an informed debate on the NSA PRISM surveillance project.
Snowden knew, he said, that the NSA was lying to the public about the true nature of its activities. In leaking the NSA PRISM slides to the UK Guardian in June, he did in fact show the world the nature of the U.S. government’s surveillance activities.
Only in our digital age can one person expose so much by outsmarting the authorities. As Snowden said in the video:
I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself … All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed.”
2014 — The Year of Awareness
2014 may shape up to be the year that finally addresses the abuses of technology by government. Technology, as Moore predicted, increases at a blazingly-fast speed. The laws that surround technology, however, continue to update in a bureaucratic (slow) fashion. Snowden brought these abuses to light, and the coming year will likely be the first major attempt to address what has changed.
In 2014, as a result of the Snowden leaks, an era of more accountability and transparency will emerge. As it should. World citizens have a right to know who is watching them. The Bush and Obama administrations did whatever they could to hide from the FISA courts and Congress — making full surveillance by the NSA of Americans and world citizens a reality, as Ryan Lizzi put it in his piece in The New Yorker.
Now the question is whether U.S. President Barack Obama will accept the recommendations given by the group of experts he appointed. Or will he choose instead to be opaque, getting away with cosmetic changes alone? Is he riding the Raptor or is the NSA the Raptor wagging its tail? The truth will soon come out.
Image credit: shapeways.com
As tech watcher Esther Dyson put it:
When it comes to terrorism, however, we have created an atmosphere of fear that is wildly disproportionate to the actual risk, handing power to terrorists unnecessarily and harming ourselves preemptively. In many cases, the treatment – or the immune response – is worse than the disease. Do we want to call in the government over every possible irregularity? Do we want a world that is safe from criminals, but where most people are treated like criminals, with their every move monitored?
Read more of Dyson’s article here.
For aNewDomain.net, I’m David Michaelis.
Based in Australia, David Michaelis is a world-renowned international journalist and founder of Link Tv. At aNewDomain.net, he covers the global beat, focusing on politics and other international topics of note for our readers in a variety of forums. Email him at DavidMc@aNewDomain.net.