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Government surveillance of the internet must end

Column Edward Snowden is a hero
Fri Jul 12 2013, 17:07

THE INQUIRER published a poll last week soliciting readers' opinions about Edward Snowden and government surveillance of the internet. The responses so far reflect that most readers of The INQUIRER don't approve of internet surveillance and want Snowden protected as a whistleblower.

I couldn't agree more, and I believe that we all as citizens of the US, the UK and Europe should make both of these opinions abundantly and unmistakably clear to the politicians on both sides of the Atlantic ocean who supposedly represent our best interests and have control over prosecutors and government intelligence agencies.

The poll presents the question, "How should Edward Snowden be treated for his NSA whistleblowing revelations?"

Just four percent of readers seemingly don't care about 'national security' but think his duty to his employer, the elite business consulting firm and defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, is the most important consideration and chose the response, "He betrayed his employer's trust, and should be sanctioned for that."

Twice as many respondents or eight percent apparently are blasé about the whole thing and chose, "He should be ignored, who cares about PRISM anyway?"

Slightly more readers, 13 percent, seem to be authoritarian followers who apparently are happy to blindly submit to any intrusive surveillance by legions of unelected government bureaucrats, drone employees and defence contractors monitoring all of their internet communications.

These law and order loving, reflexively heel-clicking respondents don't seem to care about the valuable service whistleblowers provide in a democracy by calling attention to illegal activities and abuses of power that inevitably are committed by unscrupulous government mandarins, browbeaten employees and self-interested private contractors. They chose, "He exposed intelligence sources and methods, and should be tried in court."

Taken together, these three poll options have so far attracted 25 percent of The INQUIRER readers' responses.

Another 22 percent of readers apparently were aware previously that the US government has been collecting all internet traffic for several years, so they chose the response, "He hasn't revealed anything we didn't know, but should be protected as a whistleblower."

Most readers, however, came down firmly against government surveillance of the internet and in favour of protecting Edward Snowden as an honourable whistleblower, a man whose conscience clearly compelled him to expose the vast scope of domestic and international surveillance that is being conducted by the US National Security Agency (NSA). Fully 53 percent of poll respondents chose, "He exposed the hypocrisy of governments, and must be protected."

Between these latter two responses, 75 percent of readers of The INQUIRER who responded to this poll think Snowden does not deserve to be prosecuted, much less persecuted as the US government now seems intent on doing, and two-thirds of you disapprove of the illegal abuse of power that is represented by unwarranted government surveillance of the internet.

We all should make our opinions known to those politicians who represent us in government and demand that they put a stop to government surveillance of internet traffic and prevent any continued persecution of Edward Snowden. He is a US patriot, and a hero for freedom. µ


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