Edward Snowden became known all around the world after disclosing over a million classified documents from de National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013. Doing so, he revealed to the public that the NSA secretly collected personal data from US citizens. Now, in 2020, new developments in the Snowden case are leading to a discussion about a potential pardon.
Since 2013 Snowden has lived in Russia to avoid being extradited and trialed in the United States. For seven years he has been labeled both a “traitor” and a “hero”.
Some claim he endangered national security by undermining U.S. intelligence operations. Others seem to believe he did the world a favor by exposing mass surveillance.
Developments in 2020
Recently, the question of a potential pardon for Snowden regained some media attention.
In an interview with the New York Post on the 13th of August 2020, president Trump stated the following: “There are a lot of people that think that he is not being treated fairly. I mean, I hear that”.
On August 15, 2020 president Trump announced he would look into the possibility of granting pardon to Edward Snowden. Since then, he has remained silent on the issue.
These statements are a significant shift in attitude towards the issue. President Trump has always been a critic of Snowden. In the run up to the election in 2016 Trump described Snowden as a “traitor” and “a spy who should be executed”.
Two weeks later, on the 2nd of September, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the massive phone data collection program revealed by Snowden violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and possibly the 4th amendment.
Last week Snowden himself appeared on the “Joe Rogan Experience“, the massively popular podcast hosted by comedian and MMA-commentator Joe Rogan. Through a livestream from his flat in Moscow, Snowden commented on the recent statements from the President and the ruling from the appeals court.
Snowden called the appeals court ruling “a huge victory for privacy rights”. He stated that he remains positive about the future of digital privacy.
What will the future hold for Snowden?
With the U.S. elections coming up on November 3, 2020, privacy and the problems surrounding mass surveillance seem to be back in public debate.
The question remains if either President Trump or democratic nominee Joe Biden will make a pardon part of their campaign.
At bestoflegaltech.com we follow every new development in the Snowden case. Make sure to check out our blog for the latest news.