Was it Worth it?

In Journalism after Snowden the authors begin to talk about the reaction to Edward Snowden releasing classified information. Before Snowden told the world about the capabilities of the NSA and other organizations there were largely two theories. The first being that; government organizations are only collecting information from a specific group of people, in order to investigate certain targets. This would mean that the government is not holistically collecting and storing everyone’s information but is only interested in following certain people that typically have some sort of malicious intent. The second theory that the book describes is “the most paranoid in this community consistently [warning] that the United States could and would use computational power and unclear legal framework to put millions of Americans and users of American Internet services under surveillance” (Bell, Owen, 274). It’s interesting but the ladder group was completely correct. The surveillance that is happening, is happening on such a large scale that involves everybody. The book continues to describe this phenomenon by saying that people who were surprised at this or claimed to be unaware were simply “not paying close enough attention” or were simply “naïf”(Bell, Owen, 275). This point is really interesting because it assumes that the majority of people knew or should have been aware that there was this mass collection of information about everyone.

Snowden of course, was appalled and sickened when he found out about the capabilities but, he also felt as though everyone should be aware of their lack of rights. If I’m being honest, I disagree with Snowden actions of sharing classified information, no matter the reason. But, I do understand why he put himself on the line to tell others. He believed that people would not only be infuriated by his findings, but that they would inevitably rise up and demand action or some sort of change. The authors of Journalism after Snowden, said that “the public reaction to widespread surveillance has been, in many quarters, a resigned shrug, an acceptance that is simply how things are on the internet”(Bell, Owen 273-274). In my mind the most interesting thing about this entire situation, is the fact that the majority of American’s simply do not care that they are being monitored. For some reason this is just a norm that they have accepted. I feel like, I should use the phrase they, because I am not comfortable with being constantly monitored. But it’s a fact, and there is no way that there will ever be a change; with ought citizens actually advocating for that change. Again, Edward Snowden assumed that telling the American people about this injustice of being monitored and somewhat spied on would lead to a change in some way, shape, or form. He put himself on the line because he thought he was doing something amazing for the greater good. If I ever have the chance to meet Snowden, I simply have to ask him if he would do it again. Was it worth it? He gave up everything, for something he believed in…but if he had the chance to go back in time would he release the papers again, knowing that he didn’t make a difference?

One thought on “Was it Worth it?

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  1. I appreciate that you are conflicted about Snowden’s choice. However, as someone who is also disturbed by what he revealed, how do you think he should have handled it? If the government is breaking the law and even the President has sanctioned this law breaking, how is the public ever to know the truth without someone being willing to leak this information?


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