Friday, June 5, 2015

Snowden's Post-Terror Generation

"President George W. Bush confers with staff via telephone from his office aboard
Air Force One during the flight from Sarasota to Barksdale Air Force Base."
(11 September 2001) Source: The National Archives

Edward Snowden took to the OpEd section of this morning's The New York Times on the second anniversary of the beginning of media publishing government secrets Mr Snowden took while he working for National Security Agency (NSA)—well, while working as a Booz Allen Hamilton contractor for the NSA.

In The World Says No to Surveillance, Mr Snowden writes of "the emergence of a post-terror generation,"
In a single month, the N.S.A.’s invasive call-tracking program was declared unlawful by the courts and disowned by Congress. After a White House-appointed oversight board investigation found that this program had not stopped a single terrorist attack, even the president who once defended its propriety and criticized its disclosure has now ordered it terminated.
This is the power of an informed public.
Mr Snowden notes developments in Europe and Latin America and the culture and (re)design of electronic devices and the Internet that encourage him. He also warns there is much to worry about, citing continued NSA's surveillance, corporate cooperation with government surveillance, and other governments (he cites Australia, Canada, France and England) which, Mr Snowden argues, have "exploited recent tragedies to seek intrusive new powers despite evidence such programs would not have prevented attacks."

Mr Snowden ends,
Yet the balance of power is beginning to shift. We are witnessing the emergence of a post-terror generation, one that rejects a worldview defined by a singular tragedy. For the first time since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, we see the outline of a politics that turns away from reaction and fear in favor of resilience and reason. With each court victory, with every change in the law, we demonstrate facts are more convincing than fear. As a society, we rediscover that the value of a right is not in what it hides, but in what it protects. 

For the full essay, read Edward Snowden, The World Says No to Surveillance, The New York Times (5 June 2015).