Speak not because it is safe, but because it is right. So goes the ethos of Edward Snowden, the notorious NSA contractor who in 2013 leaked highly classified information detailing the government’s broad domestic and international surveillance powers.
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Where he was once seen as a traitor - or worse, a foreign spy - Snowden has become something of a pseudo-superhero over the years. In fact, since joining Twitter in 2015, Snowden has amassed more than 3.8 million followers. And while he’s a highly active Tweeter, he only follows one account in return: the NSA.
As a purveyor of truth and an advocate for more transparent privacy laws, Snowden has been an integral voice in the fight for freedom from overt and systemic government oppression. He’s chimed in on everything from the 2016 presidential election to the recent internet censorship happening Russia and more. He’s even schooled cable TV news pundits a time or two on the very meaning of surveillance.
With respect, that "reckless" approach led to the largest reform of unconstitutional domestic surveillance since 1978, and the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service journalism. If that's what recklessness looks like, we could use a hell of a lot more of it. https://t.co/QliTqo7o3h
He’s one of the strongest and most influential voices of reason in an age of countless government leaks and partisan whistleblowers; more than that, he’s one of the few prominent anti-government advocates who’s dedicated his life to working for the public (as stated in his Twitter bio).
So how has Snowden changed the world? Let’s take a look.
Snowden Signaled Sweeping Government Reforms
While the U.S. government (as well as governments abroad) had been spying on their citizens for decades, no one really knew how big or inclusive that system was. And while the Snowden leaks were certainly a tough pill to swallow, they gave the public a reason to force the government to undergo sweeping mass surveillance changes.
In 2015 the White House approved new reforms to limit the size and scope of their phone surveillance methods, and in the same year Congress passed the USA Freedom Act, which drastically reduced the amount of data the NSA was able to collect.
While these were both steps in the right direction, it’s worth pointing out that some of that progress iscurrently being undone.
Snowden Promoted Greater Digital Awareness
As an enemy of the nation, Snowden has been in exile for more than five years, first taking refuge in Hong Kong and eventually...