Snowden & Assange
Right to Privacy vs Collective Security
Right To Privacy
USLEGAL Inc. the right to privacy is defined as
“ the right to be let alone, in the absence of some
"reasonable" public interest in a person's activities, like
those of celebrities or participants in newsworthy
events. Invasion of the right to privacy can be the basis
for a lawsuit for damages against the person or entity
violating the right. ”
In theory, collective security can be understood as:
a security arrangement in which all states cooperate collectively to
provide security for all by the actions of all against any states within the
groups which might challenge the existing order by using force.
This contrasts with self-help strategies of engaging in war for purely
immediate national interest.
Edward Joseph Snowden
❖ Worked with the National Security Agency (NSA): IT security in Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA) --> Became disillusioned with the undisclosed
surveillance programmes that intruded the privacy of individuals
❖ Left the CIA in 2009 and continued working with NSA in various outside
contractors such as Booz Allen with the intention of collecting more evidence to
expose the surveillance programmes
❖ 6-7 June 2013: After receiving information from Snowden, The Guardian releases
reports of the surveillance programme PRISM, which gives the NSA direct access to
material such as emails, search histories and live chat. The Guardian also releases
information about the collection of the telephone records millions of Verizon
customers under a top secret court order. (Verizone is a major
telecommunications company in the US) Snowden was in Hong Kong by then.
Edward Joseph Snowden
❖ On 9 June, Snowden decided to go public, explaining his decision in an interview:
“"I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing
❖ Now: After leaving Hong Kong and staying in a transit zone in Moscow’s
Sheremetyevo airport for more than a month (a result of his travel documents
being revoked by the US government), Snowden entered Russia in August 2013
after being granted asylum in Russia for one year.
Australian publisher and journalist
Editor-in-chief and founder of Wikileaks
Wikileaks: Publishes secret media, news leaks as well
as classified media
Currently seeking political asylum at the Ecuadorean
embassy in London (since 2012)
Cited the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as
reason for his asylum application
Police stationed outside to arrest him if he comes out.
Julian Assange - Crimes
Sexual allegations in Sweden
Espionage charges in US
a “transparent” and “scientific” approach to
Partner of former Guardian journalist, Glenn Greenwald, who
has covered stories based on leaks by Edward Snowden
Stopped in transit between Berlin and Rio de Janeiro. Detained
at Heathrow for 9 hours under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act
Was carrying encrypted files, including an external hard drive
containing 58,000 highly classified UK intelligence documents
Evaluation of US response + Implications
US Response for...
➢ defended the previously undisclosed
surveillance programmes, without
intentions of compromise
➢ filed espionage charges against
Snowden, requested for detainment of
Snowden for extradition from Hong
Kong and Russia, and urged Russia and
Ecuador not to grant Snowden asylum
➢ Aggressive in the chase after Snowden:
Bolivia’s president Eva Morale’s plane
was forced to land in Vienna after
European countries refused to lend
airspace, with the suspicion that
Snowden was on board.
Has been granted political asylum at the
Ecuadorian embassy in London (since Aug
2012) and has stayed there since as in the
US he may face imprisonment or a death
penalty for espionage.
Washington has denied there is any "witchhunt” against wikileaks as Assange says
there is and stated that Assange was
making "wild" claims to deflect attention
from his alleged sexual misconduct in
He fears being extradited to the US should
he face his Sweden charges. (US denies
In the future….
Right to privacy will continue to be
Technology has advanced too much for any
real privacy (except perhaps our thoughts…
Questions to ponder over
1. Should individual privacy and collective
privacy be weighed in importance
2. Who has the authority to decide what
knowledge is given to people? Why?
3. How can we better establish a consensus
on how we can best create some form of
balance between privacy and security?
Personal Opinions Recommendations & Insights
● Right to privacy → Collective security
○ Although the right to privacy is a fundamental
right, nothing is really “private” today.
○ Conscience → Clear
Governments need to tighten security measures to
protect confidential information
Establishment of consensus regarding privacy and
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