I have to admit, I was extremely late in my knowledge of Edward Snowden and what he was known for. Weeks went by with me being “what? Snowden? Who’s that?” Yes, you are free to judge and I don’t have any way to defend myself. I guess I was too occupied by different things (those things being tv-shows and fanfics). Don’t worry, I’m (kind of) up to date now. If you’re not, well, Edward Snowden is a whistleblower; he disclosed thousands of classified documents that he had acquired to media outlets, revealing to the extent which the American government is surveilling their people. While he has many people supporting him, quite a few think of him as a traitor and he has been marked as a public enemy in the US. He is currently living in Russia, and there is no doubt that he would be very unsafe if he were to come back to his home country.
In class today, we watched a video of Snowden being interviewed by a German documentary filmmaker, Hubert Seipel, at the beginning of the year. He discussed a variety of subjects surrounding what he had done and how the public has reacted to his actions. Quite early on, he said he had read several death treaths made by anonymous government officials working in the United States intelligence. In his words, they said they wanted to “poison me as I was returning from the grocery store” and “have me die in the shower”. He asked for police protection.
The fact that the government chooses not to respect their people’s privacy is not a strange concept. We are far from the world of Oceania in Nineteen Eighty-Four, but might be closer to it than we think (a guy in my class held a presentation on North-Korea today, and they are definitely not too far from that world, Big Brother and the secret police watching and all). The act of revealing all that information was brave, and some might say, stupid. But then again, isn’t a big part of bravery reliant on stupidity?
I guess it’s apparent that I support what he did and find it to be the correct decision. Whether I would do the same… well, there is always the fear of it coming back to hurt you and/or the people you care about. I would probably be quiet about it, I have to admit. Still, while there are apparent negative points to what the government does, I can’t help but understand why they find it necessary. By basically “spying” on the people, it would make it easier to spot potential future murderers, terrorists or drug dealers. They should just find a different way of doing it that doesn’t inflict on the privacy of others. Or…? I find that this topic is too great for me to fully express my opinions over. I’m torn.