David Against Goliath: One Man Challenging the United States

by JRajotte on March 31, 2015 - 12:56am

Edward Snowden was born in 1983 (He is currently 31). His father was a coast guard and his mother was a judge in Baltimore federal court. Snowden dropped out of high school to enroll in a computer technology course. During his Computer classes he joined the Special Forces training camp but was unable to complete training due to a broken leg. Being unable to complete his training he completed his computer science courses. After this he managed to obtain a job with the National Security Agency (NSA) as a guard, and the CIA. He later worked for private companies such as Dell and Booz Allen a NSA subcontractor. While working for Dell as a subcontractor for the NSA he realised that the government was stockpiling information about its own citizen. Seeing that the general public was not aware of such situation he managed to take confidential documents concerning the activity of the NSA and its partners. Later knowing that his life his life was in danger distributed thousands of confidential documents to the media. He currently resides in Russia as a political refuge as he believes that he would not receive a fair trial in the United States. He remains active at denouncing government surveillance and gives conferences on the subject of spy agency and internet surveillance.
His actions have caused the public to understand the world of governmental surveillance that was before this leaking of information off limit to them. In general his actions have affected much of the western world. In North America and the 5 eyes countries (Australia, Canada, UK, USA and New Zealand) it brought awareness to the fact that the government are watching its own citizens. It has over the past year created enormous debates as to either privacy should be traded for security. In international relationships, it has caused tensions between the Five Eyes and international government, more specifically it exposed Canada’s role in the Spying or Brazilian Economic infrastructure and the surveillance of German political figure’s personal devices and communications.


In the article, Before Edward Snowden Leaks, NSA Mulled Ending Phone Program published on the Huffington Post websites by Ken Dilanian on March 29, 2015, the article describes that the NSA where examining if the phone tapping and collecting of information was a viable program for the security of the United states. The article reveals that the service was in fact none efficient as it only prevented one plot which served to finance terrorist groups in Somalia. Prior to the Snowden leaks opposition to the abolition to the phone tapping program was limited for reasons of internal security. However after the leaks some groups have been pressing for the abolition of such programs as it infringes on the privacy of individual. Other also claimed that bad-intentioned politicians could consult these documents and use them in abusive ways. In general the program is now seen as intrusive and it was recommended that it be removed. Another article titled UK-US surveillance regime was unlawful ‘for seven years’published in the Guardian on February 6, 2015 by Owen Bowcott, it is stated that documents released by Snowden have also lead to the investigation of the UK authorities in their own surveillance program, this lead to the acts committed by the NSA and the GCHQ the UK’s equivalent of the NSA, to be classified as being unlawful as they gathered private information and shared that information of the citizen of the United Kingdom, the activities were also declared as being illegal as it impedes on freedom of expression.
Due to Snowden, we as citizens are now able to understand the functioning, but also to criticise the way in which the government protects its citizen.

References:
http://www.biography.com/people/edward-snowden-21262897#aftermath
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/29/nsa-phone-program_n_6963804.html
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/feb/06/gchq-mass-internet-survei...
http://www.ted.com/speakers/edward_snowden