According to a news article published by The New York Times, Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agent contractor, is now considered an outlaw after disclosing information about the secret documents that detailed the US’s mass surveillance programs. Although the president acknowledged the public debate that Snowden’s revelations provoked, he now faces possible espionage charges.
His whistle-blowing acts stirred up reaction across the government. In fact, through his revelations, courts found the government was wrongfully using Section 215 of the Patriot Act in order to justify mass telephone data collection. As a result, Congress replaced this law with the United States of America Freedom Act, which limits the government’s power to collect specific records and creates a more transparent government surveillance.
Newspapers stated that Snowden’s disclosures won the Pulitzer Prize. The United Nations delivered resolutions to safeguard digital privacy and issued a mandate to promote the rights of privacy. As a result, various technology companies began providing thorough encryptions by default. Snowden’s actions increased America’s awareness of privacy risks in the digital age.
Still, the president and the candidates to succeed Obama emphasize the need to prosecute Snowden. Of course, others believe that Snowden stood for the rights of the public. Eric H. Holder Jr., a year after leaving office as President Obama’s attorney general, stated that Snowden performed a public service by raising a national debate regarding surveillance practices.
The news report states that whistleblowers fulfill a vital role in safeguarding human rights. In addition, reports state that whistleblowers whom disclose the violations of rights that are protected by an “official cloak of secrecy” are amongst the most imperative individuals. Snowden added, “[P]eople reporting wrongdoing of the most serious nature have to basically stand up and light themselves on fire, we are very quickly going to find ourselves out of volunteers the very moment when society needs them the most. […] I used to work for the government. Now I work for the public.”
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