Chapter 2: Dominant Qyestions

2.1 The Edward Snowden Case Study: Does Technology Improve Security?

Widely hailed as a whistleblower, cyberstrategist, traitor or patriot, Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old intelligence contractor created waves in June 2013 when the Guardian newspaper released incriminating details of PRISM, a surveillance programme that allowed the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect Internet data from citizens through their online activity. “PRISM is considered a highly classified program that allows the National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation to retrieve data directly from Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, and Apple.” (Sottek & Kopfstein, 2013). Broadly, the PRISM surveillance programme collects information from metadata and content. While debates ensue on the details of the programmes and the extent of the surveillance that was put in place, the Snowden Case Study reinvigorated debates on privacy, extent of reach of the security paradigm and the role of technology. In the information age, the ability for legislation to chase developments in the cyber domain has been lacklustre at best.

The Snowden Leaks