Edward Snowden — Whistleblower

June 10, 2013 by Joshua
in Blog, Freedom

[My previous post is my second-to-the-last on my series on daily and weekly beliefs that improve my life and may improve yours, in no particular order. See the introduction to the series and the value of flexibility in beliefs for background. The last one will be an introduction to the whole series, to come soon.]

I haven’t written about freedom and the Freedombox project in a while. If you’ve followed the leak about the information about how much the U.S. Government is spying on seemingly everyone it can, you can imagine I feel strongly about it.

Readers here know the value I hold for accountability in leadership. Secrecy seems antithetical to accountability so the news seems to reveal something counter to what I consider effective leadership. It looks to me, from the outside of course, like something out of control.

Once I read the Guardian piece naming Edward Snowden (by his choice) as the whistleblower who leaked the information about the wiretapping last week, I posted the quote below on the site that linked me to that article. Plenty of people who know more about the situation than I are writing about it. The last line of my post shows why I feel compelled to post about it nonetheless.

Based on the number of posts there calling him a hero, he seems to be emerging as an inspirational leader in the affair. Who knows how things will play out, though?

My post:

“Once he reached the conclusion that the NSA’s surveillance net would soon be irrevocable, he said it was just a matter of time before he chose to act. “What they’re doing” poses “an existential threat to democracy”, he said.”

Thoughtful people brave enough to blow whistles seem to be the greatest check on what looks like a secret, unaccountable, illegal centralization of power based on lies from the top of the government on down.

Many powerful people will see him otherwise. I shudder to think of what will become of him, though I’m sure we’ll see it played out in headlines.

Whistle-blowers are not our only defense, however, as we all have power too, for example contributing to the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

“His allegiance to internet freedom is reflected in the stickers on his laptop: “I support Online Rights: Electronic Frontier Foundation,” reads one. Another hails the online organisation offering anonymity, the Tor Project.”

My personal favorite is the Freedombox project: https://www.freedomboxfoundation.org/learn

(By the way, I don’t know about anybody else, but for the first time I can think of, I’m seriously concerned about the consequences of posting support for somebody like this online. I don’t know how things will play out years down the road and who will do what with this information.)

Comments responding to mine are commenting a lot on my parenthetical comment at the end. I don’t remember feeling this way about expressing myself before. When I think of historical precedent for people being afraid to speak about similar things… well, I’ll let you consider if you feel more or less safe and when and where, historically, people have felt similarly.

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