When Edward Snowden met journalists in his cramp board in Hong Kong ‘s Mira hotel in June, his deputation was ambitious. Amid the clutter of laundry, meal trays and his four laptops, he wanted to start a argue about mass surveillance .
He succeeded beyond anything the journalists or Snowden himself ever imagined. His disclosures about the NSA resonated with Americans from day one. But they besides exploded round the universe .
For some, like Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, it is a vitally important issue, one of the biggest of our time : nothing less than the defense of democracy in the digital age .

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Zoe Lofgren

US congressman
But the intelligence agencies dismiss such claims, arguing that their programs are constitutional, and discipline to rigorous congressional and judicial supervision. Secrecy, they say, is substantive to meet their overriding bearing of protecting the public from terrorist attacks .

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Stewart Baker

Former NSA general rede
The debate has raged across time zones : from the US and Latin America to Europe and to Asia. Barack Obama cancelled a trip to Moscow in protest at Russian president Vladimir Putin ‘s protection of Snowden. brazilian president Dilma Rousseff cancelled a state visit to Washington in protest at the US spying on her. bolivian president Evo Morales ‘s plane was forced down in Vienna amid suspicion that Snowden was being smuggled out of Russia .
In Germany, a “ livid ” Angela Merkel accused the US of spying on her, igniting a furor that has seen the White House concede that new constraints on the NSA ‘s activities may be necessary. interim, in Britain, prime minister David Cameron accused the Guardian of damaging national security by publishing the revelations, warning that if it did not “ demonstrate some social responsibility it would be very difficult for politics to stand spinal column and not to act ” .

Caught in a net

uranium internet companies, their co-operation with the NSA exposed by Snowden ‘s documents, fear a global consumer backlash, and claim they were forced into co-operation by the law .

democratic US senator

film director of the NSA

US president

UK prime curate

brazilian president


Lavabit founder

democratic US senator

US director of national intelligence

Computer analyst and whistle blower

german chancellor

Yahoo CEO
much of the NSA ’ sulfur defensive structure is that the public should be unconcerned, summed up by the pronouncement : “ If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. ” But civil liberties groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union warn that surveillance goes well beyond what Congress intended and what the US constitution allows .

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Chris Soghoian

Principal engineer, ACLU
Cell phones, laptops, Facebook, Skype, chat-rooms : all allow the NSA to build what it calls ‘ a radiation pattern of biography ’, a detailed profile of a target and anyone associated with them .
And the number of people caught up in this dragnet can be huge .

Three degrees of separation

You do n’t need to be talking to a panic suspect to have your communications data analysed by the NSA. The representation is allowed to travel “ three hops ” from its targets — who could be people who talk to people who talk to people who talk to you. Facebook, where the typical drug user has 190 friends, shows how three degrees of separation gets you to a net bigger than the population of Colorado. How many people are three “ hops ” from you ?
Number of friends :

Login to Facebook
associate to Facebook to get your friend count. Your information will not be saved .

1ST degree :FRIENDS



Calculations are based on an psychoanalysis of Facebook that reports a distinctive exploiter has an average of 190 friends and 14 % of those friends are friends with each other. Faced with growing public and political concern over the quantities of data it is collecting, the NSA has sought to reassure people, arguing that it collected only a bantam proportion of the populace ’ sulfur internet traffic, roughly equivalent to a “ dime bag on a basketball court ”. But in world, that is still a huge amount of data. The Library of Congress, one of the biggest libraries in the universe, gathers 5 terabytes a calendar month. The national security agency sucks up much, much more .

Since you began reading this, the NSA has selected
terabytes of data for reappraisal. That ‘s about

two-hour HD movies .

The NSA say it needs all this data to help prevent another terrorist assail like 9/11. In order to find the needle in the haystack, they argue, they need access to the whole haystack .

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Stewart Baker

Former NSA general rede
Snowden recognises the value of the NSA in counter-terrorism, but thinks the spy means has perilously over-reached itself. He is a fugitive from US police, in exile in Russia. But the debate he wanted to start when he decided to become a whistle blower is immediately happening .

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Thomas Drake

Former senior executive, NSA

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