Snowden’s New Book “Permanent Record” – A Review

by IG GURU – 9/25/2019

Edward Snowden is the notorious former NSA contractor who blew the whistle on a mass surveillance program run by US intelligence officials.

Recently, the US government filed a lawsuit days after the book was released to prevent Snowden from collecting profits from his book. Snowden is currently living in Moscow under asylum. Below are some notes taken from the book.

Snowden splits the books into three parts. He speaks about his upbringing, his mother coming from a long line of patriots who served the US, how the relationship with his father introduced him to technology, and the struggles he had keeping details of his job to his then girlfriend. He goes into his work experience and how he continued life after he exposed the secret US surveillance system.

Information security professionals, consultants, lawmakers, and anyone interested in information privacy should read his book. He goes into detail how he deeply classified material fell into his lap and when he dug further how invasive the system was.

He talks about how as a system admin and having the keys to the digital kingdom, and how he set up a system to help him keep up with frequent updates at the NSA, and how he later used that system to find out more about the secret surveillance system. Further, he goes into how he collected, copied, and communicated with journalists to help him expose this secret system.

So why would Snowden, a person who admitted to having a good-paying job and a stable life in the US expose a secret US program? He explains he felt morally obligated to the people of the US, and he felt the intelligence agencies were violating the constitution, and their loose interpretation of section 215 of the US Patriot Act triggered the ability to collect information on US citizens and anyone who was a threat to the US.

Snowden talks about the actions of the US government after his decision to go public. He talks about the attorney’s, volunteers, and people who helped him along the way. He discusses how his generation is the first generation that has to deal with the possibility of data immortality and how our data may never truly be deleted after we believe it is gone.

His story begs the question, why didn’t he seek US representation to help him with his findings, why did he give up on the chain of command to report his findings, or why didn’t he go to US lawmakers to blow the whistle? Some of the answers are in his book, and other answers may never be known. Regardless, Snowden and his book puts governments and organizations on notice. If they do not provide a medium for those who have high-level access to voice concerns, and act on those concerns there may be more following in his footsteps.

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