“We are living through a crisis in computer security the likes of which we’ve never seen, but until we solve the fundamental problem, which is that our policy incentivises offence to a greater degree than defence, hacks will continue unpredictably and they will have increasingly larger effects and impacts.”
– Edward Snowden, an American computer professional, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee, and former contractor for the United States government who copied and leaked classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013 without authorization. His disclosures revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA and the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance, with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments.
On May 20, 2013, Snowden flew to Hong Kong after leaving his job at an NSA facility in Hawaii to meet journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Ewen MacAskill. On June 5, The Guardian released secret documents obtained from Snowden that state the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court implemented an order that required Verizon to release information culled from its American customers’ phone activities to the NSA on an “ongoing, daily basis”. The following day, The Guardian US and The Washington Post released Snowden’s leaked information on PRISM, an NSA program that allows electronic real-time information collection. Further disclosures were made by other newspapers including Der Spiegel and The New York Times. The 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service awarded jointly to The Guardian and The Washington Post “for their revelations of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, helping through aggressive reporting to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy.”
Snowden is currently living in an undisclosed location in Russia while seeking asylum elsewhere.
Quoted in the Financial Times print edition 10/11 September, 2016 “Lunch with the FT: Edward Snowden” by Alan Rusbridger
Photograph of Snowden by Laura Poitras / Praxis Films [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Follow PublicSphereWB on Twitter!