Via reddit I found an interesting article about the Snowden incident and its wider implications. I know many of you are fed up with it already but this piece might be worth reading nevertheless. Excerpt:
If Snowden were a criminal, he could have exploited the data. Or sold it to identity thieves. Or, even sold it to a foreign enemy.
But in order to do the right thing — and expose the crime — Snowden would have to give up his own life and throw himself on the mercy of the ordinary citizens of the world.
Yes, the collection of this kind of personal data is illegal in almost every nation in the world.
The right to privacy from electronic surveillance is granted in most national constitutions. This expectation of privacy has been declared a human right by the UN. It is a crime to collect it secretly.
It may be hard for Americans to wrap their minds around this concept because, in their case, human rights are not directly conferred upon them, constitutionally — and can be suspended by the Executive Branch or the high court at any time, if it is deemed (often secretly) to be in the best interest of the “defense” of the nation.
Read that last sentence again.
You are living in that reality. The citizens of other nations are not. Their constitutions declare and affirm human rights that are specific to the 21st century issues.
Americans have have little expectation of general human rights, many of which were circumvented by the Patriot Act. But, right now, the rest of the world is dismayed and outraged that the US has illegally breached their sovereign laws to spy on their citizens and businesses.
The world regards what the NSA is doing as an international crime and a direct violation of their human rights.
“If our goal in countering terrorism is to provide for the security of individuals and preserve the rule of law, such practices are… counterproductive,” [UN rights chief Navi Pillay] said.