Preserving Liberty

1743 Words Feb 21st, 2018 7 Pages
In a corner atop the mural, Thomas Jefferson’s famous quote, “When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny” stands for all to see. Beneath Jefferson’s wise words, the artist has declared Edward Snowden and Julian Assange heroes. While plenty government officials condemn the actions of these demonized “hacktivists,” reconsider the summer of 2013, when Americans sat aghast in their living rooms as reporters broke stories of the mass surveillance of American citizens through the collection of phone records and user data from major American companies (i.e. Apple, Verizon, Facebook, and Google) by the National Security Agency (NSA) (Scherer and Shuster). In early June 2013, several days following the first reports, Edward Snowden, a thirty year-old libertarian, and former NSA contractor, personally claimed responsibility for leaking the documents that proved the privacy infringements (Scherer and Shuster). For the duration of the summer the world watched on as Snowden and allies avoided the American manhunt like characters from a Mission Impossible movie, concluding when Russia granted Snowden asylum for a year (Scherer and Shuster). Snowden has been labeled everything from a “dangerous traitor” to a “Dark…

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