Born on the 21st of June 1983, Edward Snowden was a former CIA employee and a former contractor with the NSA. Snowden’s career path has been an interesting one – from being a security guard in the NSA to an information technology expert in the CIA and back to an IT subcontractor with the NSA. He was still working with the NSA as a computer specialist when he made a decision that changed his life forever.
He initiated several NSA leaks and disclosed highly classified information on global surveillance apparatus of the NSA and other international partners. Till date, his release of the classified material has been regarded as the highest information leak in the history of America. These series of exposures began in June 2013, when internet surveillance programs such as Tempora, XKeyscore, and PRISM were revealed by Edward, who had access to such data. The documents contain private and highly secretive information of people culled from various databases in the internet.
While still working for the NSA in their Hawaii office, Edward became aware of some government programs that were designed to spy on American citizens via internet use and phone calls. He felt that the government was bridging the rights of its citizens and the idea of revealing this information to the public got to his head. Later, he began copying the top secret data that contains surveillance information he found disturbing and invasive.
After compiling a huge amount of this information, he collected a leave of absence from his supervisor with the false intent of going for epilepsy treatment that was diagnosed on him. He leaked the report on the documents to the Washington Post and The Guardian while being after several weeks of contemplation. A tiny part of these documents were published by the Guardian in November 2013, and they said “the worst part of the document is still yet to come”
This revelation made Snowden a controversial figure as a lot of people see him as a patriot, while so many others see him as a traitor. When asked the reason why he had to reveal this information, he explained that he wanted to let the public know what is done against them and what is done in their name. This disclosure has fuelled worries over government secrecy, mass surveillance, and the balance between information privacy and national security.
Edward Snowden is in temporary asylum in Russia and is wanted by his country (U.S.A) for spying and theft of government property.
For more on the NSA and its impact on American business and the US economy go to www.wallstreetwindow.com.