Edward Snowden Hub




Guerilla Artists Erect Massive Bust of NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden in NYC Park: VIDEO

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A massive bust of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden made of hydrocal was erected overnight in a park in Fort Greene, Brooklyn by a group of guerilla artists and their assistants, ANIMAL New York reports:

The group, which allowed ANIMAL to exclusively document the installation on the condition that we hide their identities, hauled the 100-pound sculpture into Fort Greene Park and up its hilly terrain just before dawn. They fused it to part of the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument, a memorial to Revolutionary War soldiers. As of press time, the sculpture was still there.

The idea for the Snowden tribute was conceived about a year ago by two New York City-based artists with a history of pulling off notable public interventions. They linked up with a renowned sculptor on the West Coast who was sympathetic to their cause. The artists admit that Snowden probably wouldn’t approve of the project, since he never wanted the leaks to be about him, but they hope he’d understand why they did it.

2_snowdenThe group released a statement about why they did it:

Fort Greene’s Prison Ship Martyrs Monument is a memorial to American POWs who lost their lives during the Revolutionary War. We have updated this monument to highlight those who sacrifice their safety in the fight against modern-day tyrannies. It would be a dishonor to those memorialized here to not laud those who protect the ideals they fought for, as Edward Snowden has by bringing the NSA’s 4th-Amendment-violating surveillance programs to light. All too often, figures who strive to uphold these ideals have been cast as criminals rather than in bronze. Our goal is to bring a renewed vitality to the space and prompt even more visitors to ponder the sacrifices made for their freedoms. We hope this inspires them to reflect upon the responsibility we all bear to ensure our liberties exist long into the future.

Watch the video of the installation, AFTER THE JUMP...

NOTE: The bust has since been covered with a tarp. Towleroad's Michael Goff walked over to it this morning and took the photo below. He reports that the area was crawling with police and additional personnel who looked like Secret Service.

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John Oliver and Edward Snowden Discuss NSA, Missing Hot Pockets, and the D--k Pic Surveillance Program: WATCH

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With the PATRIOT Act Congressional re-authorization date looming ahead, Last Week Tonight host John Oliver devoted Sunday's episode to the issue of government surveillance. Specifically, Oliver called for reforms to "Section 215," which enables the government to ask for "any tangible things" so long as it pertains to international terrorism.

Oliver called it a "blank check," saying:

Its like letting a teenager borrow that car on the strict condition that they only use it for 'car' related activities. "Okay Mom and Dad, I'm going to use this for a hand job in the Wendy's parking lot, but that is 'car' related so I think I'm covered." 

Oliver also traveled to Russia and sat down with Edward Snowden to discuss the the NSA, the balance between privacy and security, dick pics, whether he misses Hot Pockets and Florida, and more.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Edward Snowden: Gay Marriage Would Have Been Impossible Under 'Perfect Surveillance'

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In Edward Snowden’s opinion the U.S.’s current LGBTQ rights movement would not have been possible in a world where government surveillance was ubiquitous. In a surprise Ask Me Anything session hosted on Reddit, Snowden fielded a wide range of questions from users of the popular news platform.

“Perfect surveillance,” he explained, would be antithetical to the subversive origins of most of the major social revolutions that have shaped American history:

“When we look back on history, the progress of Western civilization and human rights is actually founded on the violation of law. America was of course born out of a violent revolution that was an outrageous treason against the crown and established order of the day.

"History shows that the righting of historical wrongs is often born from acts of unrepentant criminality. Slavery. The protection of persecuted Jews. But even on less extremist topics, we can find similar examples. How about the prohibition of alcohol? Gay marriage? Marijuana?

"Where would we be today if the government, enjoying powers of perfect surveillance and enforcement, had — entirely within the law — rounded up, imprisoned, and shamed all of these lawbreakers?"

h/t Pink News


A Russian Monument to Honor Steve Jobs Has Been Torn Down Because Tim Cook is Gay

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In St. Petersburg, Russia, a memorial to the late Apple founder Steve Jobs which resembled a giant iPhone with a large screening and a QR code on the back has been taken down by ZEFS, the company which funded its erection in 2013, Business Insider reports:

Speaking in a press release sent to Russian media outlets, ZEFS chairman Maxim Dolgopolov explained that the memorial was torn down for two reasons: Tim Cook coming out as gay and Edward Snowden's revelations about NSA spying. (Snowden's documents suggest Apple products were used by the NSA to conduct surveillance.) He didn't rule out reinstalling the memorial, however, but said that it would only return if it could be modified to instruct Russian citizens to use products from companies other than Apple.

Apparently the Snowden revelations didn't warrant the monument's removal on their own since they happened months ago. ZEFS Chief Maxim Dolgopolov told Business FM Radio that because Apple CEO Tim Cook came out as gay, the monument now violates Russia's law banning gay "propaganda" to minors. He also urged users to switch to computer products that are not subject to surveillance (good luck).

Watch a video of the monument's unveiling in 2013, AFTER THE JUMP...

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SXSW 2014: What Info Can (And Should) the Government Protect and Collect? - No Easy Answers

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Sxsw_2014_bugSXSW - Austin's annual tech, film, and music festival - is currently underway and has brought in thousands of film buffs, tech geeks, actors, and musicians from across the globe to meet, mingle, and enjoy the coolest city in Texas. And with the Interactive portion of the festival drawing to a close, what better time to look back on the things we've learned at SXSW 2014 so far.

What Info Can (And Should) the Government Protect & Collect? - No Easy Answers

Issues surrounding citizens' right to privacy and right to access information have been front and center for much of the week here in Austin, with a host of big names offering their thoughts and opinions on the matter.

GoogleGoogle chairman Eric Schmidt and Director of Google Ideas Jared Cohen kicked off SXSW with a discussion that ranged from robotics to privacy to the role of whistleblowers in the digital age. Both also shared their concerns over government overreach and the “balkanization of the internet” by countries around the globe.

In 2012, for example, Iran became the first country to push for a “national internet,” which would allow the country’s government to wall off a part of cyberspace, control it, and potentially even rewrite history. “Imagine if the Arab world decides to delete all references to Israel,” Schmidt hypothesized.

Interestingly, many of the panelists who spoke on issues related to privacy and security in the digital age were unable to be at SXSW in person due to their complicated relationships with the U.S. government.

IMG_1475-1In a video conversation through Skype, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange blasted the NSA as a “rogue agency” and urged citizens to stand up and speak out about their right to privacy. Gay journalist Glenn Greenwald and whistleblower Edward Snowden also appeared via video, with Snowden accusing the NSA and U.S. government of “setting fire to the future of the internet” and telling attendees that they were the “firefighters” against mass surveillance and data collection.

"In an NSA building somewhere probably in Maryland there is a record of everyone who has ever called an abortion clinic, everyone who has called an Alcoholics Anonymous hotline, anyone who has ever called a gay bookstore," Snowden said. "And they tell us don’t worry we aren’t looking at it or we aren’t looking at it in that way...that is none of the government's business."

CloudOther panelists pushed back a bit against the enthusiastic embrace of Assange, Snowden and unfettered access to government information. BBC’s Sharon Weinberger asked audiences to imagine a hypothetical 1940s where both the internet and Edward Snowden were present. How would we feel if he had leaked classified government blueprints for nuclear warheads? Would we support open access to information if it enabled our wartime enemies to potentially build a weapon of mass destruction?

Google’s Schmidt also found the internet’s ability to allow leakers to release extremely large quantities of documents troubling:

“I don’t think we want random people leaking large amounts of random data,” Schmidt said. “People can be hurt. There’s no way to tell if there’s something in a leak of a million documents that it could get someone killed.”

For now, it seems the debate about who exactly gets to decide what “appropriate use” of government power is and what types of information should be public will continue into the foreseable future.  

[Google photo via PC Pro]


Edward Snowden Applauds Chelsea Manning’s 'Extraordinary Act of Public Service' - VIDEO

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In a speech delivered via video to the Oxford Union Society, Edward Snowden commended fellow whistleblower Chelsea Manning for her “extraordinary act of public service” at “an unbelievable personal cost” 

The speech was given in honor of Manning’s recent selection as the recipient of the Sam Adams Award for Integrity and Intelligence for "casting much-needed daylight on the true toll and cause of civilian casualties in Iraq; human rights abuses by U.S. and "coalition" forces, mercenaries, and contractors; and the roles that spying and bribery play in international diplomacy."  She is currently serving a 35-year sentence for her role in leaking the largest set classified documents in U.S. history. 

Snowden, who was last year’s recipient of the award, also spoke out against the government’s “over-classification” of documents that should be considered public record. 

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

[via Jezebel]

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