After the recent leak of supposedly classified Internet Surveillance documents, it left many wondering: Is this for real, or just some elaborate hoax?
To those undecided: wonder no more. The person responsible for one of the largest leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29 year old former techincal assistant for the CIA and employee of the defense contractor “Booz Allen Hamilton”. Snowden has been closely working with the NSA for the last four years and also has been employed by many other contractors like Booz Allen and Dell.
The Guardian, who after several days of interviews, has decided to reveal his identity at Edward’s request. In his words, “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong.”
Snowden will undoubtedly go down in the history books as one of the USA’s most consequential whistle-blowers, joining the ranks of Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning. He is solely responsible for handing over material from one of the worlds most secretive organizations – the NSA.
In a note accompanying the first set of documents he provided, he wrote: “I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions,” but “I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant.”
He does not fear the consequences of going public with this leak, he said, only that doing so will distract attention from the issues raised by his disclosures. “I know the media likes to personalize political debates, and I know the government will demonize me.”
Despite these fears, he remained hopeful his outing will not divert attention from the substance of his disclosures. “I really want the focus to be on these documents and the debate which I hope this will trigger among citizens around the globe about what kind of world we want to live in.” He added: “My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.”
He has had “a very comfortable life” that included a salary of roughly $200,000, a girlfriend with whom he shared a home in Hawaii, a stable career, and a family he loves. “I’m willing to sacrifice all of that because I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.”
“I am not afraid, because this is the choice I have made.”
PRISM is a game changer, no doubt about it. Many had previous suspicions of government recording, but prior to this leak no one knew to what extent. Now, it is not a secret that the NSA and United States Government has records of every email, web page, phone call, IM chat, Google Search and more, on a server backed up in some top secret complex.
How does one keep communications secure now?
The answer is simple: Encryption, encryption, and more encryption. Follow these simple steps below to secure your online communications:
1.) Use an Anonymous VPN Service that doesn’t keep logs, like TorGuard. Run a VPN Tunnel on all your devices, including Desktop, Laptop, Smartphone and Wireless Router. TorGuard provides 5 simultaneous connections per VPN account, so you have no excuses.
2.) Drop Gmail, Ymail, and more. Don’t like the idea of your personal emails becoming forever archived by the NSA? Make the switch to an Anonymous email provider like TorGuard PGP Encrypted offshore webmail. For private communications, be sure to use PGP end to end encryption on your messages.
Please post your personal feelings or feedback on PRISM in the comments section below.