NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden
Edward used to be an employee of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), given high level access to government data. But in May 2013 he flew to Hong Kong after leaving work and soon revealed he had given secret classified NSA documents to a number of journalists.
Edward had witnessed government corruption, and after seeing the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, lie under oath to Congress, he decided he had enough.
The documents were a rare insight to a massive government privacy violation, how they had created a database from vast amounts of data that was constantly being captured as it travelled through the internet. Emails, instant messages, and other types of web traffic indexed as to profile individual users. Secret data programs have violated peoples rights.
Edward Snowden used to work for the NSA and the CIA, both American Government intelligence agencies. His work gave him access to a lot of government secret files, and what he saw upset him. He tried to raise his concerns with his colleagues, supervisors, and the Office of General Counsel, which did nothing.
Edward had witnessed government corruption, and after seeing Director of National Intelligence lie under oath to Congress, James Clapper, he copied huge amounts of secret files and fled the country. First, he flew to Japan, then he attempted to fly to Ecuador, where an asylum had been granted for him, but the American government cancelled his passport which stranding him in Russia while in transit.
Journalists flew to Russia to meet him and they agreed they would only publish information from the trove that is in the public interest to know, and they would not leak information that could cause harm to anyone.
A number of articles were soon released that detailed how the government was secretly gathering and collating a huge amount of information on people, they are mass surveillancing everything. Documents showed a rare insight to a massive government privacy violation. It detailed how they were tapping internet connections, using spy satellites, and actively hacking people’s phones without any consent of any court. Emails, instant messages, and other types of web traffic indexed as to profile individual users. Edward states that the secret government data programs broken the law and violates constitutional people rights.
If Edward was now to return back home to America he would be arrested under the espionage act. By law, people accused of this don’t get an open court, nor a fair trial.
Edward received a permit allowing him to travel freely within Russia, and later granted permanent residency there.
He continues to talk about his discoveries to educate people and in hope that governments would change their activities. He speaks to CNBC, NBC, The New Yorker, Reuters, The Guardian, and gave testimony to the European Parliament.
The government states that they gather this data as to find terrorists, but no evidence suggests that this kind of data has any significant impact on terrorism.
2008 update: Government is watching you!! A clip from the film Eagle Eye..
2019 update: Interview with MSNBC