Permanet Record

Edward Snowden

Permanet Record



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In Permanent Record, Edward Snowden tells us about the journey that led him to reveal the American intelligence’s capillary system of surveillance over the entire world. The author describes the details of everything that happened, as well as the personal conflict he experienced, and still feels, as a result of the decision he made. However, he also recognises that his revelations directed the world’s attention onto the issue of privacy, and increased the awareness among institutions, and especially among people.

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Analysis and key concepts


The advent of the internet was a revolution, and created, at least in the beginning, a great place for sharing and freedom


The 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred at the same time as the development of digital technology, which, had it been used wisely, could have helped spread positive and peaceful values


In the early 2000s, intelligence agencies often recruited young and inexperienced external consultants, in order to manage highly secret and sensitive systems


People who work in intelligence agencies must put the mission before anything else, even their own rights


The government agency NSA, which together with the CIA and the FBI is in charge of national security, has been guilty of surveillance malpractice for years


The aim of intelligence is not to listen to the contents of our conversations or chats, but to collect data on our activities through those same exchanges


The cloud is one of the many tools used to strip private citizens of their rights and control over their personal data


The first ten amendments of the US Constitutions stress the importance of protecting citizens from government surveillance


A whistle-blower is someone who, after working within a certain institution, discloses information, which is useful to society as a whole


Thanks to Snowden’s revelations, the whole world realised the US intelligence could permanently record and archive anyone’s data




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Gain a deeper knowledge of how international intelligence systems use the latest technologies to expand their surveillance network.
  • Better understand the need for constant vigilance when it comes to privacy and personal data.
  • Realise how radically the internet has changed the lives of millions of people.

Edward Snowden is an American computer scientist and activist. For many years, he worked as a technologist for the CIA and other IT companies in the security system sector. In 2013, he exposed the invasive surveillance system adopted by the US government, with the aim of revealing the systematic violation of privacy and personal freedoms that he had witnessed in first person. That same year he had to flee America, for good, to avoid arrest for high treason. He moved to Hong Kong, from where he shared the information he had gathered with a few select journalists. He currently lives in Russia on a permanent residence permit with his wife, Lindsay Mills, and their son.

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