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WORLD & NATION
Snowden’s manifesto is
met with cold reception
BY ROBERT PACHECO
The Russian winter has arrived and many argue that
Edward Snowden is attempting to thaw his icy relationship
with the U.S.
Most recently, Snowden had his open letter, "A Manifesto
for Truth," published in Der Spiegel, a German news
"While the NSA and GCHQ (a British intelligence agency)
appear to be the worst offenders... we cannot forget that mass
surveillance is a global problem and needs a global solution,"
'Those who speak the truth are not committing a crime."
Several analysts believe that the purpose of Snowden's
letter is to gain clemency as international opinion turns
against American spying.
On the contrary, others, like Christian Science Monitor
writer Mark Clayton, hold that, "Washington is trying to
spin the letters to its advantage — suggesting that Snowden
is seeking clemency as a way of making it appear as if he's
tacitly admitting guilt."
Snowden's argument that mass surveillance programs
operate at an enormous scale is supported by the extent of the
U.S. spying network.
'There are over 50 intelligence agencies, both private sector
and public, that comprise the American spying network,"
William Binney, an NSA whistle-blower who left the agency
in 2002, told The Guilfordian in an email interview.
Proponents of U.S. intelligence-gathering concur that the
spy network is bloated, though for different reasons.
"The privatization of government services
allowed individuals, like Snowden, to access classified
information," said Robert Duncan, assistant professor of
political science. "Private sector companies care more about
their bottom line than the integrity and security of the U.S."
Before its existence was leaked to the public by Snowden,
the NSA's PRISM program collected data communicated
over the Internet via a twb-pronged approach; coercing
corporations like Google to sell customer information and
subpoenaing private information from these corporations.
Former director of the Central Intelligence Agency Robert
Gates believes that PRISM's supervisor, the U.S. Forei^
Intelligence Surveillcmce Courts, has kept spying within
limits, both domestically and abroad.
"China and other countries conduct economic espionage,"
Gates told The Guilfordian. "America doesn't do that. Our
espionage must be strategic in purpose, and the FISA courts
ensure that it is."
However, multiple reports show that PRISM strategy may
have infringed on citizens' rights to privacy.
"The NSA paid millions to cover the costs of major Internet
companies involved in PRISM after a court ruled that some
of the agency's activities were unconstitutional, according to
top-secret material passed to The Guardian," Ewan MacAskill
wrote in an article for The Guardian.
Furthermore, on Nov. 7, The New York Times reported that
the CIA pays AT&T over $10 million a year to assist the CIA
in exploiting the company's vast database of phone records.
Companies such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Verizon
have admitted that they have received compensation from
U.S. intelligence agencies to release user information.
"The 'Accept Terms of Service' prompt that appears on
these sites isn't some obligatory pop-up," said Mike Hyatt '05,
systems analyst for Lincoln Financial Group. "Those prompts
are you signing your information over to them as property."
Many in the information technology field find it laughable
that people are upset about the government corralling
information that users willingly put on the Internet.
"Anytime you hook up to the Internet, you can take the
word 'personal' out of personal computer," TT&S network
engineer Brian McCaffrey said in an email interview.
The evolution of the Edward Snowden leaks illustrate that
the U.S. government is paying for, as well as subpoenaing,
user information from corporations.
"It is capitalism at its finest," said Hyatt. "Unfortunately,
capitalism at its finest often brings out humanity at its worst."
TIHELINE DF RECENT NSR
Jun. 6: Snowden leaks PRISM,
revealing the NSA's tapping of
Internet companies'systems and
mass collection of user data.
Jun. 27:The Guardian
recounts the complete
history of domestic NSA
Spying In a report.
Aug. 15: The Washington
Post publicizes internal
NSA Audit, revealing
thousands of violations.
Aug. 21: Director of National
Intelligence James Clapper releases
FISA Court report detailing the NSA's
Violation of the Fourth Amendment.
Sept. 28: The New York Times
reports that the NSA has been using
public social media data from
Facebook since Nov. 2010 to figure
out who associates with whom.
Sept. 17: FISA Court gives legal
justification for mass spying under
Section 215 of the Patriot Act.
Graphic by Samir Hazboun, Co-Layout Editor