Do We Need Another Edward Snowden?

by
Fatimah Mazhar
July 09, 2014: Sure people have become more interested in and aware of online privacy, but what else have the NSA leaks been able to achieve?

NSA

Last week, yet another piece of information from the National Security Agency (NSA) leaks emerged in the news, revealing how the U.S. intelligence marks users as “extremists” who search for anything related to privacy-focused operating networks.

While people expressed their outrage over the disclosure, there was something else about it that troubled some technical experts who have worked on the entire set of documents revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

According to them, that particular report didn’t come from Snowden’s files. They said it came from someone else, another source, suggesting there might be another NSA leaker out there.

Predictably enough, the international media went bonkers and set off on a mission to corroborate the speculation.

Things got crazier when renowned security expert Bruce Schneier said “there might be a second leaker out there” and NSA reporter Glenn Greenwald implied that it could be true.

But all these people, discussing the possibility of another Snowden, seemed to ignore one little thing; do people actually need another NSA leaker? Does the world really care anymore?

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Of course whistleblowers have always been important. No one’s denying the importance of the people who have risked their security – and sometimes lives – to protect the rights of others.

However, is another person revealing the “shocking truth” about NSA really going to make any difference in our lives?

Probably not.

It’s because the “shocking truth” about the wrongdoings of the U.S. security and spy agencies isn’t really – well – shocking anymore.

It all started in June 2013 when The Guardian published a copy of the top secret court order issued to Verizon Wireless, one of the largest telecommunications giants in the U.S. issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The order required the company to handover all telephone records in its systems to the NSA.

The Verizon leaks were followed by a series of revelations that exposed how the NSA and Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) carried out mass surveillance at home and abroad.

Outrage ensued. The Obama administration and the British government came under national and international criticism for violating constitutional rights, invasion of privacy and the sovereignty of foreign countries.

More leaks followed in the following months. However, the outrage seemed to diminish with time.

The level of sensitivity of the masses towards NSA’s snooping has now come to the point where people read about it, show a little reaction and move on.

Sure, the White House called 'constraints' on NSA spying and appointed a panel that proposed curbs on some key surveillance operations, but has anyone or any organization been held accountable or tried in court?

No.

The idea of having a second NSA whistleblower might sound interesting and important right now but something substantial needs to be done to make sure having a second Snowden out there is worth it.

Otherwise more news stories from an alternative source about the same thing would only lead to more lack of concern and interest.

READ MORE: NSA To Be Reigned In? About Time

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