Edward Snowden is an American computer specialist who has worked for Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and National Security Agency (NSA). At an interview with Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras in Hong Kong, Snowden spoke about the global surveillance system that the U.S government is set up. Through media such as The Guardian, he leaked the actions of internet and phone surveillance by U.S intelligence (“Edward snowden tells,” 2014). He also came to know about a surveillance program called PRISM, which NSA uses to collect massive amount of data such as emails, phones, videos, pictures, and even messenger chatting of each individuals (Poitras & Greenwald, 2013). Also, he came to know that he was “part of something that was doing far more harm than good,” through a conference in Geneva 2013. On U.S government’s side, he’s a traitor and a whistleblower whereas others such as civilians call him a hero (“Profile: Edward snowden,” 2013).
From my perspective, his actions were heroic. Despite the dangers and threats he knew that would follow, he stood up bravely and provided quality information for the benefit of U.S society and even further, the benefit of global society as well. Now, people know about the reality of global surveillance and the fact that they are being watched and recorded probably way more than they expected. Although, I fear just as Snowden mentioned in his interview that this would not bring significant changes to the U.S government and that they will keep the global surveillance active. People protest and do campaigns to make changes, but I believe that U.S government has lots of potential hidden power to set the media for their needs and secretly shut individuals who get on their way. The massive amounts of secrets about the actions of U.S government has revealed their actual power and led me to believe that a country free of unnecessary surveillance almost seems like a dream.
However, one difference it has made is that it has improved people’s awareness. Now that we know what is going on, we can minimize providing unnecessary thoughts and information. People can start by reducing messenger chats, phone calls and start having more face-to-face conversation. People can be more careful on the comments and the postings they make on blogs and Social Networking Sites such as Twitter and Facebook. I believe even making these small changes in our actions will severely reduce the amount of surveillance database and hopefully develop to a larger wave in the future.
Edward snowden tells german tv that nsa is involved in industrial espionage. (2014, Jan 26). The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/26/edward-snowden-nsa-industrial-sabotage
Poitras, L., & Greenwald, G. (2013). Guardian us [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2013/jun/09/nsa-whistleblower-edward-snowden-interview-video
Profile: Edward snowden. (2013, Dec 16). Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-22837100