Edward Snowden. While the name might not ring a bell for a few readers, his effect in our country involving data and technology is unrivalled. In the early parts of June, 2013, Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the NSA (National Security Agency) spying into our everyday lives. Every text that we sent, every picture that was posted on the internet, they stored in mass storage facilities, one being right here in Bluffdale, UT. And we would not have known any of it if it was not for Edward Snowden.
The scope of the files that Edward Snowden released are absolutely immense. While the CIA have not released the exact numbers, private investigation done by both the Australian and British Governments estimate roughly anywhere between 900,000 to 1.7 million files were transferred over. In March of 2014, U.S. Navy Admiral Michael S. Rogers said that “The vast majority of the documents that Snowden … exfiltrated from our highest levels of security … had nothing to do with exposing government oversight of domestic activities. The vast majority of those were related to our military capabilities, operations, tactics, techniques and procedures.” Even so, roughly 25% of all the data that Snowden “stole” involved domestic policies, and government surveillance.
After the he started blowing the whistle in 2013, Snowden immediately went into hiding, and is currently in asylum in Russia. As of September of 2016, Snowden officially asked president Obama for a pardon, saying that the job he did was “extremely beneficial to the american population”. Many large figures such as Democratic runner up, Bernie Sanders, and Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, all support the petition to have the president pardon Edward Snowden, due to his “help in shining light on government surveillance, and has done a service to the people of the United States…” As of now, though, the White House remains consistent with its answer of no, due to his breaching of national security.