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No Place to Hide

Edward Snowden, the NSA and the Surveillance State

By Glenn Greenwald
18-minute read
No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the Surveillance State by Glenn Greenwald

In No Place to Hide, author Glenn Greenwald details the surveillance activities of secret agencies as according to information leaked by American whistleblower Edward Snowden. Rather than serving as a means to avoid terrorist attacks, as the US National Security Agency (NSA) claims, Greenwald explains that these dubious activities instead seem to be a guise for both economic espionage and spying on the general public. No Place to Hide also brings to light the media’s lack of freedom in detailing certain government and intelligence agency activities, and addresses the consequences whistleblowers face for revealing secret information.

  • Anyone who uses technology such as email in private correspondence
  • Anyone involved in journalism or politics
  • Anyone who values their freedom and privacy

Best-selling author and journalist Glenn Greenwald is a former civil rights attorney and lawyer. Having blogged about the surveillance state for a number of years, Greenwald caught the attention of Edward Snowden as someone who could help him leak documents exposing the secret behavior of government and intelligence agencies. Greenwald is a highly influential political commentator and in 2014, shared the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

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No Place to Hide

Edward Snowden, the NSA and the Surveillance State

By Glenn Greenwald
  • Read in 18 minutes
  • Contains 11 key ideas
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No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the Surveillance State by Glenn Greenwald
Synopsis

In No Place to Hide, author Glenn Greenwald details the surveillance activities of secret agencies as according to information leaked by American whistleblower Edward Snowden. Rather than serving as a means to avoid terrorist attacks, as the US National Security Agency (NSA) claims, Greenwald explains that these dubious activities instead seem to be a guise for both economic espionage and spying on the general public. No Place to Hide also brings to light the media’s lack of freedom in detailing certain government and intelligence agency activities, and addresses the consequences whistleblowers face for revealing secret information.

Key idea 1 of 11

Individual privacy fosters who we are and what we believe in politically.

Behind closed doors and among friends, are your opinions and behaviors different to those you might reveal in public, in particular to certain people such as your pastor, a policeman, your parents or employer? Most of us would answer, “Yes.”

Privacy is crucial to our sense of freedom. When it is compromised, our individuality suffers and we tend to instead behave in a way that is expected of us.

When we know we are being observed, we alter our behavior and become more fearful. We can see this, for example, in a 1975 Stanford University experiment. This study revealed that 77 percent of participants were in favor of legalizing marijuana. However, when they were told their statements were to be viewed by police for “training purposes,” the figure in favor plummeted to 44 percent.

This shows that surveillance significantly affects how we think, especially when it comes to political standpoints.

It is important to have political dissent to maintain a healthy democracy. However, governments have throughout history spied on citizens who dare to go against the status quo.

In recent years, the internet has provided a platform for people to share knowledge and protest authority. It has enabled movements, such as Occupy Wall Street, to stand against gross abuses of power.

Unfortunately, that a government spies on political dissenters is no new discovery. As far back as 1971, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) monitored various political groups, such as those who were anti-war and those involved in the civil rights movement. Shockingly, the FBI even infiltrated some of these groups, posing as members, and tried to influence others to commit crimes.

The resulting paranoia from this covert behavior was sufficient to curb political dissent and subsequently the growth of political movements.

As we’ll see in the following blinks, spying by intelligence agencies impacts our lives, diminishing our privacy and our freedom.

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