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One of today's most controversial and, at the same time, fascinating personalities is the former contractor for the...
One of today's most controversial and, at the same time, fascinating personalities is the former contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA), Edward Snowden.
While in NSA's employment, computer specialist Snowden had direct access to classified Agency documents, revealing surveillance policies. Disturbed by the sensitive content of these classified documents, Snowden decided to take action, making it his mission to reveal all hidden NSA operations to the masses.
On May 20, 2013, Snowden took sick leave from work and headed for Hong Kong under the pretence that he needed to undertake treatment for epileptic seizures. What followed was a series of NSA documents being leaked to different media outlets, such as The Guardian and The Washington Post.
Not long after the revelations went public, Snowden made a statement for The Guardian explaining what drove him towards such a drastic move, saying, “I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things…I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under.”
From Hong Kong, Snowden sought temporary asylum in Russia. Although the US government put the heat on Russia to extradite the fugitive, Russia didn’t buckle under this pressure. The grateful Snowden thanked Russia for this act of kindness stating, “In the end the law is winning.”
Since the first revelation, Snowden continues to give spurts of information. Only last week, he revealed NSA used the PRISM programme to collect data. The exposed government surveillance operations revealed security and privacy breaches, all conducted in the name of national security.
Snowden has laboured hard to bring to light the truth behind US government operations. Whether he be labelled "hero" or "villain," there is no doubt the man in refuge has left an imprint on today's society, not just in the US, but the world at large.