Edward Snowden: A Man of Peace

Thank you Snowden bus

Edward Snowden has just been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize – an award that has certainly lost credibility because of some of the recent recipients, including U.S. President Obama. Snowden is a man who gave up his cozy life snooping on the private data of people within and outside of his country, and was smart enough not to stick around to see what kind of damage the American government would do to him, like they did to others who blew the whistle on illegal behaviour. Though there are indeed others who also deserve such praise, I hope at least the nomination helps Snowden’s cause.

His cause, in case you don’t know, is to give the American people the information of what the NSA has been doing without any public debate or permission, in order to decide what should be done. In other words, democracy. If you need to be caught up on this story, I have a collection of videos and explanations that I updated many times, in one post.

Ultimately, it seems, the American people are the only ones that have the power to actually do something against the NSA (because evidently the US government doesn’t care about complaints unless they’re from inside their borders). But that doesn’t mean it’s not important if you are not living in the USA. Considering the internet from everyone on earth is routed in the United States, it doesn’t matter where you are. Perhaps one day (hopefully) other countries will create an entirely new infrastructure for the internet, as Brazil stated recently they might be the first to do. Until then, we have to wait for what else Snowden has in store for us.

As was mentioned earlier this month, Snowden has revealed less than 0.1% of the documents he took from the NSA, which is a scary though considering how much we have already learnt.

On the recent Nobel Prize nomination, the Independent said:

Barack Obama may have a to-do pile full of Edward Snowden-related headaches, but the NSA whistleblower might be joining him on one of the world’s more prestigious clubs.

Mr Snowden has been nominated by two Norwegian MPs for the Nobel Peace Prize, a gong the President himself won in 2009.

Baard Vegard Solhjell, a former environment minister, and Snorre Valen said on Wednesday the public debate and policy changes “in the wake of Snowden’s whistleblowing has contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order.”

[. . .] In a joint statement, Solhjell and Valen said: “There is no doubt that the actions of Edward Snowden may have damaged the security interests of several nations in the short term.

“We are, however, convinced that the public debate and changes in policy that have followed in the wake of Snowden’s whistleblowing has contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order.

“His actions have in effect led to the reintroduction of trust and transparency as a leading principle in global security policies.”

Thousands of people around the world are eligible to nominate candidates for the prize, including any member of any national assembly. There were 259 nominees for last year’s prize.

Nominations will be taken until February 1 and a shortlist will be finalized on March 4. The winner will be announced in October.

Bloomberg reported this additional information:

Valen said he had no worry that the nomination, or even the award of the prize, would draw a negative response from the U.S. “The U.S. is one of the world’s most democratic and free societies,” Valen said in an e-mail today. “I feel confident that a peace prize to Snowden will not affect US-Norwegian relations. I have more trust in Barack Obama’s democratic thinking than that of China’s.”

Ouch. I’m not sure how China feels about that remark, but considering President Obama – not exactly an anti-war president – received the prize, I can only assume that they won’t consider this as some sort of geopolitical attack.

Al Jazeera America mentions:

Snowden fled to Russia, where he has requested temporary asylum after leaking classified security documents detailing widespread phone and email surveillance by the National Security Agency. [. . .] Obama had previously defended surveillance programs as necessary tools in the fight against terrorism. But recently he has attempted to straddle the line between intelligence gathering agencies and privacy advocates.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Wednesday that countries that spy on their allies risk destroying trust. Merkel used her inaugural address to parliament after her re-election to slam the United States and Britain over their spy programs. “Actions where the ends justify the means, where everything that is technically possible is done, harm trust,” Merkel said. “It sows distrust. In the end there will be less, not more, security.”

As I said, there are other people who should also be seriously considered for the prize this year, but for the sake of every internet user around the world (i.e., virtually everyone) I am hoping for Snowden this year.

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