On June 6, 2013, Americans learned that their government was spying broadly on its own people. That ’ mho when The Guardian and The Washington Post published the first of a serial of reports put together from documents leaked by an anonymous source. The fabric exposed a government-run surveillance program that monitored the communications records of not barely criminals or potential terrorists, but law-abiding citizens as well. Three days late the source unmasked himself as Edward Snowden, a National Security Agency contractor. But the motion remained : Was he a whistle blower or a double-crosser ?

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks and the perceive need for heighten national security, the U.S. government relaxed its rules around surveillance. The first report published in The Guardian revealed that the NSA was collecting and monitoring the call records and the textbook of citizens. Days late, The Washington Post and The Guardian reported that the U.S. government was tapping into the servers of nine Internet companies, including Apple, Facebook and Google, to spy on people ’ sulfur sound recording and television chats, photograph, emails, documents and connection logs, as part of a surveillance program called Prism. Later articles revealed that the government was even spying on leaders of other countries, including Germany ’ s Angela Merkel. In the like calendar month, Snowden was charged with larceny of government place, unauthorized communication of national defense information and froward communication of classified communications intelligence. Facing up to 30 years in prison, Snowden left the country, primitively traveling to Hong Kong and then to Russia, to avoid being extradited to the U.S.

In the awaken of the leak, President Obama assigned two five-person teams to investigate the nation ’ s surveillance policy. The leave : respective new laws and regulations were enacted to limit things like how long U.S. citizens ’ data could be held or how data by chance collected on Americans through the surveillance of foreigners could be used. While the changes resulted in greater transparency, many experts say the regulations improved the surveillance practices alone slightly and did not address the question of invasion of privacy. “ From a big-picture analysis, there ’ south been a batch of developments without a unharmed batch of movement… These reforms equitable feel like gestures, ” Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Brennan Center for Justice ’ sulfur program on shore leave and national security, told PBS ’ Frontline. Since the first leak from Mr. Snowden, journalists have released more than 7,000 top-secret documents, but some think that ’ s only a fraction of the integral archive. It ’ second ill-defined precisely how many he downloaded, but intelligence officials testified in 2014 that he accessed 1.7 million files.

In July 2013, a petition was started to have Snowden pardoned, but the government rejected it in 2015. Lisa Monaco, then-President Obama ’ s Advisor on Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, said Snowden should return home plate to be “ judged by a jury of his peers—not shroud behind the brood of an authoritarian government, ” and stop “ running aside from the consequences of his actions. ” In 2017, Moscow extended Snowden ’ mho right to asylum until 2020. He released a memoir, Permanent Record, in 2019 .

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