11.03.13

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The ‘I Am Edward Snowden’ Defence

Posted in Action at 3:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Edward Snowden

Summary: How Edward Snowden’s download (copying) of an untold number of unspecified documents (from Microsoft SharePoint) enables everyone in the NSA to leak more documents and attribute this to Snowden (who enjoys asylum)

HERE in Britain, Bonfire Night is already being celebrated by some people. Many let loose their fireworks during the weekend, just before the actual night which is when people work (it’s not a national holiday), so there are explosions outside as I write this. Bonfire Night is about Guy Fawkes, which became famous for the mask of Anonymous, the collective of online activists. Anonymity is a valuable tool for activists. If people can do particular actions without being held accountable for these actions, then that can be used for bad (trolling/cracking) but also for good (whistleblowing/retribution against power). Some — especially the rich and the powerful — try to use the bad cases in order to ban the latter. It helps them keep their power and it helps them keep secret their abuses (if any).

“In a sense, Snowden would be a perfect ‘mask’ for anonymous whistleblowers.”Earlier today, Asher Wolf and many other activists retweeted me saying “Perhaps #snowden is becoming the real-life Guy Fawkes, the anonymous persona through which anonymous leakers claim leaks to have come from” (source).

For context see [1,2] as it suggests that the NSA now has several unknown leakers, whose leaked documents probably get attributed to Snowden in order to protect their jobs. In a sense, Snowden would be a perfect ‘mask’ for anonymous whistleblowers. The NSA does not really know what documents Snowden downloaded to leak to the press (Microsoft SharePoint logging must be defunct), so anything which leaks from the NSA can just be assumed — even wrongly — to have come from Snowden. Suffice to say, it leaves the NSA even more vulnerable. There can be dozens of leakers still working for the NSA, but the NSA cannot know if that’s the case and thus it cannot find out who they are. Snowden gives them the perfect cover. Each NSA whistleblower can just say “I am Edward Snowden” and get away with it when it’s published, leading to another reforming scandal. Maybe one say privacy can be restored thanks to Snowden’s actions [3].

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Inspired by Snowden, more NSA insiders are blowing the whistle

    Jesselyn Radack is a civil liberties attorney with the Government Accountability Project who has been in contact with Edward Snowden. In an ABC News interview, she reported that other NSA insiders have been inspired by Snowden’s bravery and sacrifice and have come forward with further revelations about the organization’s excess, criminality and lawlessness. She says that the Obama administration’s war on whistleblowers has backfired, squandering the administration’s credibility with its own operatives and inspiring them to speak out.

  2. More NSA Leakers Followed Snowden’s Footsteps, Whistleblower Lawyer Says

    But the legal threats and high-level condemnation haven’t kept others from coming forward with new information, Radack said.

    “There definitely could be more revelations in addition to those that Snowden has revealed and that are continuing to come out,” she told ABC News.

  3. Can Snowden revert privacy to a social norm?

    The steady trickle of revelations of government snooping that continues to seep from the Edward Snowden documents is serving to keep attention riveted on how privacy in the digital age ought to be defined.

    That’ most probably not to the liking of Google and Facebook. In January 2010, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg infamously declared that the expectation of privacy was no longer a social norm, and, in October 2010, then Google chairman Eric Schmidt said “Google policy is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it.”

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