Privacy Month Part 1: A Decade of Snowden

This week marks the ten-year anniversary of one of the most important revelations in both American and world history: no longer able to justify aiding in — or turning a blind eye to — the US government’s top secret surveillance programs, Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the illegal operations.

Despite providing documented evidence of the crimes and abuses by the US intelligence community, Snowden is the only one the justice system has sought to punish. This is made possible via the Espionage Act — a WWI-era law historically used to chill free speech and whistleblowing activities that challenge the government’s authority.

Now a decade later, the American refugee continues living in exile as a citizen of Russia. And as much as critics or public officials like to accuse Snowden of being an asset to the Kremlin, they ultimately have John Kerry and the State Department to thank as it was their revoking of Snowden’s passport that left him stranded in Russia since 2013. Furthermore, he’s publicly stated his intentions to return home if guaranteed a fair trial — something that is highly unlikely.

In honor of Mr. Snowden’s bravery and personal sacrifice, I will publish a few pieces in the coming days covering different topics regarding privacy and government surveillance.

And on behalf of the team at the Libertas Institute, we’d like to thank Mr. Snowden for making it possible for those being spied on by the US government — namely anyone across the globe deemed a potential threat by the NSA, CIA, FBI, etc., including US citizens to have a voice.