Summary of The Snowden Legacy

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  • Controversial
  • Overview
  • Concrete Examples


Five years after former NSA programmer Edward Snowden released a slew of top secret documents about US government surveillance activities in 2013, national security expert Sean Gallagher takes stock of the impact the disclosures had on society and politics at home and abroad. Whether you think of Snowden as a traitor or a hero, Gallagher’s balanced analysis is worth a read.

About the Author

Sean Gallagher is the IT and national security editor at the tech news site Ars Technica.



In June 2013, Edward Snowden leaked a series of secret documents that outlined the breadth of US government surveillance programs in the US and around the world. For the first time, the US public learned that the National Security Agency (NSA) was indiscriminately collecting the phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily, along with customer data from nine Internet companies. Moreover, Snowden revealed the existence of a data visualization tool, including records on specific data collected in individual countries.

The disclosures sparked a debate over privacy versus national security. A broad consensus emerged ...

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