Snowden scandal not so black and white

Some people refer to Edward Snowden as a traitor of the United States, but others refer to him as a patriot. In June 2013, Snowden released thousands of classified National Security Agency documents to mainstream media, revealing the global surveillance programs run by the agency. 

On April 6, a small group of artists carried a 100-pound statue into New York City’s Fort Greene Park, and welded it to the Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument, a memorial to Revolutionary War soldiers. The statues were covered and removed that morning. 

Later that night, another group of artists known as The Illuminator Art Collective projected a hologram of Snowden where the statue originally stood. 

“We biked over to check it out, and then it was swiftly removed,” said Kyle Depew, a member of the collective as he spoke with National Public Radio. “We were inspired to do what we do best, which is light projection to pay tribute to the work that these anonymous artists had done in creating the sculpture and to further the conversation, to further the story and the discussion about Edward Snowden.”

There’s no doubt the country is divided on whether he should be tried for treason, or be honored as a hero. According to a survey, 31 percent of Americans believe he did the right thing, 33 percent believe he was in the wrong, while 36 percent are still unsure.

The reality is Snowden showed the world proof the NSA was involved in mass surveillance around the world, from world leaders to private citizens. From collecting text messages to intercepting phone calls, the NSA was involved in millions of people’s lives. 

Technology companies are also angry with Snowden because he revealed how weak their security encryptions were. Companies such as Google and Yahoo were victims of the NSA cracking into their data centers. The NSA stole private information on thousands of users, many of which are ordinary citizens. 

Most people believe if they aren’t doing anything wrong, then that means they should have nothing to hide. However, do you really want a government agency recording every email and text message you have ever sent? 

The NSA has been abusing the public’s privacy, and Snowden simply revealed and gave proof to journalists that the NSA was infiltrating the lives of millions. 

Although he went directly against the government organization he worked for, the general public deserved to know the NSA’s corrupt tactics. This public service was far more significant than the treason he committed. 

Currently, Snowden has been granted temporary asylum in Russia, but there is no telling how long he will be safe there. Snowden is an international criminal, and the United States will stop at nothing to capture him. 

College students are always told they need to be careful with technology, and anything they put on the Internet is there forever. 

There’s also the threat of hackers who will steal personal information, or scammers asking for your social security number. 

My biggest fear with technology is the mass surveillance all users are subject to. 

I would like to believe the NSA is doing this because they care about protecting my way of life, but I believe this is more about social control on a global scale. 

Americans are not the only victims of the U.S. intelligence agency; the entire world is being spied on. 

The United States is trying to play world cop, and Snowden risked all of his freedom just to raise awareness of the NSA’s abuse. Many people praise him as a “whistleblower,” while others want him tried for treason. Those who believe Snowden was in the wrong usually ignore the fact the NSA basically threw the constitution out the window, and entered into the personal lives of millions around the world. 

Currently Snowden is one of the most wanted men in the United States, and he will most likely live the rest of his life on the run. 

Although people want him tried for treason, he has a large group of supporters who recognize the sacrifice he made. 

Eventually more people will realize the significance of his actions, and maybe one day he can return to the United States as a hero.