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Growing up in the peak of technology was both a curse and a blessing to me. On one hand, I got access to more information and things to do than any generation before. I’ve had the ability my whole life to have access to any piece of information in the world at the grasp of my fingertips. Once I hit middle school, the social media craze began. Everyone eager to pour their whole lives out to their followers. My family and I were relentless with our social media usage, documenting our everyday happenings. It wasn’t until my brother graduated college and applied for a new job that we began to smarten up on our social media usage. My brother applied for a job at a company called Booz-Allen Hamilton, the same company the patriot discussed later worked at. When my brother applied, they did an extensive background check making sure that he had no criminal record or anything of the sort. After searching his record, they made him take a lie detector test. During the lie detector test they questioned him on every private part of his life trying to see if they could crack him and make him admit to something. They questioned him about credit card purchases, speeding tickets, everything about his life. When my family heard about this my parents were terrified. Things that my brother thought were just messages between friends were seen by people in the government. My family, my mom specifically, started forcing each other to become way more cautious with our phone usage. When a man by the name of Edward Snowden came around all these secrecies were confirmed. He decided that the people of America had been living in the dark for too long. When he released classified documents to the world, he educated every single American citizen on how to stay protected from prying eyes and theft. Even though there are those who thing that what he did was a bad thing, he risked his life to inform people on how they were living under a lying government.

Edward Snowden is a whistleblower formerly working for the U.S. government who leaked official government documents, enlightening the American citizens about the governments unethical spying on its citizens. Coming up as a kid, Edward Snowden was born in North Carolina, then moved to Maryland, where he would experience most of his youth. While in high school, Snowden made the decision to drop out. After dropping out of high school he enrolled at Anne Arundel Community College to study computers. Edward had a passion to serve; between his stints at community college, Snowden spent four months in special forces training. Later in life, after continuing to pursue his passion to serve, he managed to land job as a security guard at the University of Maryland Center that had ties to the NSA. This job turned out very beneficial for Edward as it eventually led to him landing an information technology job with the CIA. For the next three years he bounced from different IT job to IT job until finally landing at a private contractor for the NSA called Booz-Allen Hamilton. While working for Booz-Allen, he began to collect documents and files that he believed were examples where the government was being unethical and spying on its citizens. Edward Snowden believed that this information was so important that he was willing to risk his life and ruin his chances at living in the country he was born to, in order for the people to be aware of what the government was truly doing.

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Snowden informed the American people about how their privacy was being invaded daily. Since the age of the Internet began, the government has been finding ways to keep an edge up on the rest of society. Our conversations, which we believed to be of the utmost privacy, were actually being viewed and saved into government databases. According to John Cassidy of The New Yorker, the leaks “confirmed that the U.S. government, without obtaining any court warrants, routinely collects the phone logs of tens of millions, perhaps hundreds of millions, of Americans, who have no links to terrorism whatsoever” (qtd. in Cassidy). Edward Snowden risked his life to inform the country that every single thing they ever do on their phones is monitored and can be accessed at the governments will. Cell phones were not the private devices that the government has access to. They also have the ability to access U.S. based Internet companies. Some of the larger ones including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, among others. This heroic act by Snowden protected millions of people from unethical spying by the government.

In addition to having access to all phone usage and Internet searches of its citizens, the government also has access to the information that people consider to be of top secrecy. While talking to The Guardian, Edward said that, “The N.S.A. has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards” (qtd. In Cassidy). Not only can the government access our online conversations and social media information at their whim, they also can look at our most private information like passwords, your credit card number, and virtually any piece of information connected to the Internet. Having phone records and Internet searches viewed is undoubtedly enough alone to be seen as a heinous act, now add every other form of online action to that list. Without Snowden’s leaks, the NSA would have carried on spying on its citizens while they citizens sat by, oblivious to it all. There are those in government who have also just become aware of the spying and are taking action to correct these invasions of privacy. Senator Patrick Leahy and Representative James Sensenbrenner supported the USA Freedom Act with the intent of ending the spying and collection of private data altogether.

The information revealed in the leaks helped society by pushing the government to pass new acts and laws with the purpose of completely ending all government invasion of citizens’ Internet privacy. Therefore, I am convinced that Edward Snowden is a hero.

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