It was, in effect, a global expansion of the Stasi, the Ministry for State Security in the Stalinist “German Democratic Republic,” whose goal was “to know everything.” But the cellphones, fiber-optic cables, personal computers and Internet traffic the NSA accesses did not exist in the Stasi’s heyday.
As Snowden told the Guardian, “This country is worth dying for.” And, if necessary, going to prison for — for life.
But Snowden’s contribution to the noble cause of restoring the First, Fourth and Fifth amendments to the Constitution is in his documents. It depends in no way on his reputation or estimates of his character or motives — still less, on his presence in a courtroom arguing the current charges, or his living the rest of his life in prison. Nothing worthwhile would be served, in my opinion, by Snowden voluntarily surrendering to U.S. authorities given the current state of the law.
I hope that he finds a haven, as safe as possible from kidnapping or assassination by U.S. Special Operations forces, preferably where he can speak freely.
What he has given us is our best chance — if we respond to his information and his challenge — to rescue ourselves from out-of-control surveillance that shifts all practical power to the executive branch and its intelligence agencies: a United Stasi of America.
The stories of how NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden first contacted journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras (both Freedom of the Press Foundation board members), and how he communicated with the Washington Post’s Barton Gellman, have given the public a rare window into digital security and conversing online in the age of mass surveillance.
In response, we’ve just published our first whitepaper—using the public comments by both Snowden and the journalists involved as illustrations—to show how reporters, whistleblowers, and ordinary Internet users can still protect their privacy online.
The whitepaper covers:
- A brief primer on cryptography, and why it can be trustworthy
- The security problems with software, and which software you can trust
- How Tor can be used to anonymize your location, and the problems Tor has when facing global adversaries
- How the Off-the-Record instant message encryption protocol works and how to use it
- How PGP email encryption works and best practices
- How the Tails live GNU/Linux distribution can be used to ensure high endpoint security