Class 607 Discussion 3
Class 481 Discussion
Efforts should be made to balance safety and privacy by ensuring that intelligence gathering strategies for national threat investigations are balanced against citizen privacy rights (Holt, Bossler, & Seigfried-Spellar, 2017). Difficulties in maintaining such a balance were apparent in Edward Snowden’s revelations regarding information collection processes adopted by GCHQ and NSA, raising questions whether Snowden was a hero or a traitor. From a critical outlook, Snowden is both a traitor who undermined ethical aspects of national security and a hero protecting individual privacy rights for several reasons.
On the one hand, Snowden is a traitor for three reasons. Firstly, he adopted questionable approaches to leak the information on Karma Police and classified NSA documents. Rather than utilizing ethical and legal avenues for patriotic whistleblowing, Snowden delivered information to foreign journalists, encumbering them the tasking role of deciding which of the documents he had stolen should reach the public and which should be treated as confidential. Secondly, he was not willing to face the consequences of his actions. If Snowden was genuine and believed that his actions were honorable, he would not have escaped away from the U.S. but would have confidently remained there to bear the consequences. Lastly, Snowden damaged his country’s foreign relations because most of the information he leaked related to the United States espionage on foreign operations in other countries (Holt, Bossler, & Seigfried-Spellar, 2017).
Conversely, Snowden is a hero for three reasons. Firstly, his revelations of illegal U.S. government’s activities sparked a global discourse regarding surveillance, which prompted the government to change its laws towards superior protection of Americans’ right to privacy (Holt, Bossler, & Seigfried-Spellar, 2017). Secondly, he demonstrated some sense of responsibility by revealing information about illegal practices and not U.S. military intelligence and diplomatic conversations. Lastly, Snowden paid an immense price in defending citizens’ liberty in that he risked his freedom to reveal how the U.S. government was jeopardizing their civil liberties.
Holt, T. J., Bossler, A. M., & Seigfried-Spellar, K. C. (2017). Cybercrime and digital forensics: An introduction. Routledge.