The Guardian just ran an interview with Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who blew the whistle on perhaps the most extensive secret spying program in human history and is now a man without a country, very much in danger of assassination or rendition or any number of other nasty things should Washington get ahold of him.
It’s a short interview, just 14 minutes, but by the end it is clear that this guy is vastly smarter and more interesting than the politicians and bureaucrats who would like to hang him. See it here:
To understand what, technically, Snowden has done and why it matters, a great piece of background material is This Machine Kills Secrets by Andy Greenberg. Beginning with Daniel Ellsberg, who photocopied the Pentagon Papers in the 1970s, the book chronicles the technological progress that has made it possible for governments to invade their citizens’ privacy while also making it easier for a growing number of whistleblowers to expose those crimes.
Greenberg profiles the big names in the modern leaking movement including Bradley Manning and Julian Assange but, alas, stops just before Snowden’s emergence. So read this book and then go straight to the early Snowden articles by the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald to understand both what’s at stake and why technology gives the forces of freedom at least a fighting chance.