Edward Snowden’s worst fears could still be realised

In my first substantive discussion with Edward Snowden, which took place via encrypted online chat, he told me he had only one fear. It was that the disclosures he was making, momentous though they were, would fail to trigger a worldwide debate because the public had already been taught to accept that they have no right to privacy in the digital age.

Snowden, at least in that regard, can rest easy. The fallout from the Guardian’s first week of revelations is intense and growing.

Thus Glenn Greenwald in the Guardian. Read the full article here.

This has been Greenwald’s story from the beginning, so I understand his optimism. He’s eager to see all the positives. I must admit though that I’m far from convinced. I no longer have any illusions whatsoever  about the ability of thick-skinned public officials to brush aside mere inconvenient facts.

At this stage it’s hard to say what we’re seeing. It could be a brief flare of Congressional anger, designed to cover backs and due to be followed by the usual smokescreen. Or it just might be the beginnings of rightful indignation and lasting public anger. It’s too early to tell.

Be that as it may, Greenwald’s final paragraph is spot on:

The purpose of whistle-blowing is to expose secret and wrongful acts by those in power in order to enable reform. A key purpose of journalism is to provide an adversarial check on those who wield the greatest power by shining a light on what they do in the dark, and informing the public about those acts. Both purposes have been significantly advanced by the revelations thus far.

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