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Edward Snowden

This seems to me to be the defining journalism-whistle-blower story of this generation.
It's rare in today's world when privileged people voluntarily choose to take steps whereby they give up comfortable lives to do something that is in the 'public good.'
Mr. Snowden was clearly a computer whiz which explains why he got jobs at the CIA (including postings in Geneva under diplomatic cover). Booz Allen obviously did not hire him or pay him the $1,20,000 salary without Mr. Snowden showcasing some considerable technical expertise.
I believe Mr. Snowden's expertise probably lies in having deep expertise in various flavors of Linux. That is what I am inclined to infer from his various job roles as a 'Systems Engineer' or 'System Administrator.'
Being the self-driven sort of person that he was, I am sure he must be having good knowledge about networking and encryption stuff including but not limited to Cisco routers and related technologies.
To put these things in perspective, I would guess there must be thousands in the United States with similar kinds of expertise as Mr. Snowden (and probably hundreds in India).
I imagine a 'Systems Administrator' in India or a Networking expert with 10 years experience having almost the same kind of technical expertise as Mr. Snowden. He would get a salary of $20,000 per annum to $30,000 per annum or may be even $40,000 per annum which is a very good salary in India. He would be employed at one of the top IT companies or banks. He would live a busy but 'comfortable' life defined by the usual material amenities of life and possibly a bunch of maids helping out on the home front (cheap human resources are one of the 'perks' of life in India).

Mr. Snowden's salary was pretty good as well even by American standards. He could have looked forward to ever growing salaries and a comfortable suburban existence with its plethora of attractions. I suppose the people who make good money and live in the large cities such as New York or Washington DC or LA or Boston and so on are similarly stuck in a life and a routine which is sort of like riding a tiger — you just can't get off!
Imagine the folks especially in the intelligence community and the defense industrial complex or even Pentagon military officers who have had to execute the Iraq and Afghanistan adventures. Think of everyone who is involved with the drone wars that kill pretty much at random. Do they never feel pangs of guilt? I think they must but learn to live with a guilty conscience because the alternative would be pretty bleak — either being jobless or even ending up in jail for treason.
Mr. Snowden has turned out to be a rare individual (out of thousands) who has chosen to basically END his career and put his life literally on the line for his beliefs. A very, very rare occurrence in deed in today's world.
Why did he do it and why don't many others do it? Well, probably because he is especially young and therefore still idealistic and not fatalistic or career-minded as middle-aged folks tend to be. Mr. Snowden did not have a wife and two kids to support and a house mortgage to pay ... not to mention no college debt since he never went to college in the first place! How smart of him!!! Reminds me of Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting.
I do not know what future awaits Mr. Snowden but he has already become a true 'hero.'
Here's his Wikipedia page and a Financial Times biography.
A remarkable story about Booz Allen, the symbiotic relationships between the government and private contractors in the intelligence business and a seamless revolving door. I find it odd when people like Sen. Collins in this article talk about Edward Snowden not completing his high school. He was a Systems Administrator and must be having pretty spectacular knowledge about Linux flavors. He was a self-taught genius in the nuts and bolts of how operating systems and networks work. May be politicians who are mostly lawyers do not appreciate the complexity of computer systems because they themselves have very little knowledge about it — hopefully they know at least to password protect their Wi-Fi and know how to look up and find out their own IP Address. Of course, a 'Systems Administrator' will be able to find out a lot more. I bet most politicians would never have heard of basic Windows command prompt commands such as ipconfig, tracert, nslookup, and so on ...
Could Mr. Snowden end up like Mehran Karimi Nasseri? Mr. Nasseri of course spent 17 years in the in the departure lounge of Terminal One in Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris.  Sacha Gervasi, the screenplay writer of The Terminal reflects on the choices before Mr. Snowden.
And how the NSA is spying on Brazilians as well. How can I be sure that the NSA is not doing the same with Indian citizens? And why is the Government of India not protesting. I hope Glenn Greenwald writes an India-specific article detailing how the NSA is spying on Indians. But then, I am sure, the self-appointed spokesperson of Kerry that EAM Khurshid, he will say, 'it's only 'analysis' that the NSA is doing and not 'spying'.'
How the GCHQ is scooping up vast amounts of web and phone data. Appropriately enough, they call it 'Mastering the Internet.'
An interesting WSJ article about the options before Mr. Snowden. The article details how Mr. Snowden might travel from the transit lounge of Moscow Airport to his 'assumed' final destination of Ecuador.
NSA slides about PRISM. A summary of what is known so far.
How the FISA court has vastly broadened the powers of the NSA entirely in secret.
Do you govern, or are you governed, asks Charles Pierce. It applies to all citizens of all democracies, not just America.
David Bromwich in the London Review of Books on Snowden and what he has wrought.
Well, nobody should be surprised really that the FBI tried to send Snowden's dad to Moscow to get him to talk his son back to the United States.
Further insights about the crazy extent of the NSA's capabilities to snoop on EVERYONE's online activities. NSA stores billions upon billions of details about what people do online: social netoworking, emails, and all the rest of it. NSA analysts can then 'query' whatever they want to look up. Sad world.
A good timeline of the Edward Snowden story so far.
The Snowden Effect explained.
The UK continues to faithfully play the role of puppy to the United States as it detained Glenn Greenwald's partner at Heathrow while he was transiting through London on his way to Rio.
Of course, Mr. Greenwald has responded to this cheap intimidation tactics of Scotland Yard/NSA by writing that it will have the "opposite effect" of the obvious attempt at intimidation.
The Washington Post has published details of the U.S. intelligence spending based on documents provided by Edward Snowden.
Here's a nice visualization of the break up of the intelligence budget of the United States.
This week's Snowden revelations show that the NSA has managed to break most of the encryption technologies that are used on the Internet.
Some tech companies are 'angry' about this new revelation. They claim that they did not know that the NSA was up to this. I find it hard to believe these companies at this point.
What can you possibly do to protect yourself and your data in the face of NSA trying to snoop on everyone and everything? Here's some help from The Guardian.
Here's how NSA has made everyone less secure by deliberating weakening encryption standards.
So you thought BlackBerry Enterprise Server was 'un-breakable.' Not so fast. NSA and GCHQ have cracked that encryption too. So there.
One more day brings one more 'odd' development. Johns Hopkins cryptography expert writes blog post that is critical of NSA's shenanigans related to cracking internet encryption standards such as SSL; university asks him to 'remove' said blog post. Professor removes blog post from blog hosted on university server/domain but refuses to remove same post from Google/Blogger blog. Professor tweets about all this —> media firestorm ensues —> university takes back order to remove blog post from university blog.
So, was this just an 'innocent' step taken by the 'Dean' of the Engineering School? Or was there any 'input' from the NSA?
Hopefully, more Snowden's will come out of the woodwork like this article predicts.
A fascinating article about the Fourth Amendment implications of the NSA's bulk collection of internet metadata.
Editors from across the world reflect on the 'ethics' of the publication of the Snowden revelations.
Detailed blog about Edward Snowden in the Guardian.
Now that the spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel has come out, the NSA and the White House are scrambling to contain the fall out using the old and boring techniques of denial and prevarication and parsing of words.
More about the President vs. the Congress as to the control of the NSA.
Great article about the Snowden NSA revelations and what they say about insiders versus outsiders.
And the NSA's infamy keeps growing daily. It turns out the NSA has broken into Google and Yahoo's private cloud and manages to vacuum humongous amounts of un-encrypted data into NSA's storage facilities and servers mainframes at Fort Meade.
Some people like Andrew Sullivan (@sullydish) who were 'formerly' *skeptical* about Snowden are now turning into Snowden's supporters.
Even the great Diane Feinstein, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee is asking for a thorough review of the NSA after it came out that it was listening in on Angela Merkel's cellphone conversation.
Of course Obama must have known about all this! So imagine when Obama comes across this 'explosive' new revelation in the Washington Post based on Snowden's documents ... how does he react privately? By groaning audibly or rolling his eyes or with a wink or a knowing smile?
Obama must be shaking his head at how dumb the citizens of the world truly are. He must be like: "These people! Grow up already!!"
And imagine Obama and Merkel in a press conference just after Obama is 'briefed' about her based on that cellphone tap. Does Obama find it hard to suppress a giggle?
Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web supports Snowden and The Guardian.
A long profile of Glenn Greenwald.
How Britain is targeting The Guardian over its reporting of the Snowden files.
 Revelations about the "collaboration" between the NSA and the RSA.
Snowden's first interview from Russia with Barton Gellman of the Washington Post.
Now the New York Times has expressed its editorial opinion that Snowden should be pardoned.
Of course, I think at this point Mr. Snowden has higher moral authority that the morally ambiguous winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Mr. Obama.
One more opinion piece about how we are indebted to Mr. Snowden for the NSA surveillance debate happening now.
What was Edward Snowden doing in New Delhi, asks Foreign Affairs.
Edward Snowden interviewed by Jane Mayer in the New Yorker.
"Congressional leaders" (not to mention Obama) continue their crazy rant against Snowden.

Excerpt from Glenn Greenwald's book No Place To Hide.
How technology companies are erecting barriers to NSA surveillance.

Criticism of people (journalists) focusing on the person of Mr. Greenwald (or Snowden) and not focusing on what he has revealed.
Brian Williams interviews Edward Snowden.
One year since Mr. Snowden's revelations were first published in The Guardian. Four ways in which Mr. Snowden changed the world.
How the USG scrambled to nab Snowden — and failed.
Ron Wyden, Rand Paul, and Mark Udall write about how to end NSA dragnet.
House passes bill to cut funding for research into back doors and thus ignites hope for real NSA reform.
An old-ish story where a former Snowden colleague describes him as a genius among geniuses.
A analysis of what NSA captures by Barton Gellman of the Washington Post.
Basically, the story says that those not targeted far outnumber the foreigners who are being targeted by the NSA.
Barton Gellman further explains his reporting with details and explanations.
UN Human Rights report on mass surveillance.
India is apparently against privacy in the digital age since it was not one of the sponsors of the UN General Assembly resolution.
A 16,000-word interview with Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill of The Guardian.
David Carr profiles Glenn Greenwald.
Story in the Intercept about the terrorist watchlist program and how it has grown.
Intercept article about the speech-to-text capabilities of NSA computers.
Edward Snowden AMA related to the Patriot Act debate in Congress, Senator Rand Paul's filibuster, etc.
John Oliver interviews Edward Snowden.
Amazing WSJ article about NSA spying on Israel, Bibi Netanyahu, and more.
An article by Snowden.


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