When did the NSA start spying?

Edward Snowden - info and biography

The former employee of the NSA secret service triggered the surveillance and espionage affair in 2013. Edward Snowden proved that the US and UK are spying on the rest of the world

Wanted poster: Edward Snowden

  • Edward Snowden
  • Life data: born on June 21, 1983
  • Nationality: US-american
  • Quote: "I don't want to live in a world in which everything I say, everything I do, every conversation, every expression of creativity, love or friendship is recorded. (...) I think everyone who does Rejects the world, has the obligation to act within its means. "

After "Wikileaks" founder Julian Assange, Snowden is probably the most famous whistleblower (informant). By publishing secret NSA documents, he has made important, classified information available to the public.

How Edward Snowden lived so far

Edward Snowden was born on June 21, 1983 in the US state of North Carolina. In 1999 he began studying computer science, which he temporarily interrupted to work as a soldier in the Iraq war. In 2004, back in America, he left university without a degree.

Nevertheless, he started his professional life successfully: As an IT security technician with the American secret service CIA, he was able to access all secret documents and information right from the start. In 2009, Snowden was promoted and served in a National Security Agency (NSA) office in Hawaii. In an interview, he later revealed that he only took the job to uncover suspected state espionage.

How Edward Snowden changed the world

Edward Snowden saw documents that proved that the NSA observed and monitored worldwide Internet communications - email, private messages and data sent. Particularly in the context of the G20 summit, a meeting between politicians from the twenty most important industrialized and emerging countries, the British government systematically spied on conversations and documents from other nations.

But private persons are also affected: the secret service recorded phone calls, chats and text messages and wrote them down in report books. Snowden copied this evidence and called in sick at work. From a safe distance, Hong Kong, he then sent the secret documents to the American newspapers "Washington Post" and "The Guardian".

At the 6th June 2013 the documents were then published and the scandal was born. Snowden stepped in front of the camera three days later and gave the Guardian a video interview. He said, "I realized that I had become part of something that did far more harm than good."

Snowden was reported by the FBI for the publication of the data. The allegation: theft of government property, illegal disclosure of secret information and espionage. Each of these offenses carries a ten-year prison sentence. Snowden stayed in Hong Kong because he was in a no-law zone and could not be arrested.

At the June 23, 2013 he fled on to Moscow. From there he applied for political asylum in 21 different countries (including Germany). US President Barack Obama said he would not send jets to catch a 29-year-old hacker. Still, rumors are mounting that the US is putting a lot of pressure on other countries. The government is said to have threatened all countries that support Snowden's escape or grant him asylum with a deterioration in relations. America is an important trading partner for many countries. For this reason, the majority of states rejected the asylum application.

Only on July 12 Snowden announced that he had received an offer from the Russian government. But his goal is actually a South American country so that one day he can see his girlfriend and family again. On August 1st it was announced that Snowden would be granted asylum in Russia for one year. How it will then proceed is not yet known.

Snowden caused a scandal with the publication of the secret data. People around the world are now demanding that surveillance be stopped and that the whistleblower Snowden no longer has to flee. The politicians and authorities concerned themselves justify the online surveillance with the security of the citizens.

They are of the opinion that this would not violate any fundamental rights. However, petitions, i.e. collected lists of signatures on the Internet, show that millions of people are shocked by the espionage and see it as an invasion of their privacy.