The point that Bin Laden knew that and did not even have a phone For those of my generation, you will recall reading and Brave New World. The point that Bin Laden knew that and did not even have a phone line to his house take away any argument that it is helpful to catch terrorist. This is a book that all should read to be aware that everything written is read potentially by NSA staff. Hi NSA handier, hope you gave a good day. Jul 18, Arun Divakar rated it really liked it. Life as we know it is now almost entirely on the internet. When we are not on the phone which in itself is a rare thing , we are on the computer or the tablet swimming in the ocean of the internet.
We live, play, work, love and trade on the internet and build our entire identities there. I will complete this review and post it on an online forum which is again an irony from the POV of the book. Imagine the kind of information that is available in the world of the internet, everything we have ev Life as we know it is now almost entirely on the internet.
Imagine the kind of information that is available in the world of the internet, everything we have ever read and written, every financial transaction made, every phone call and video call is all out there for someone to grab and use if they have enough resources to do so. The million dollar question is : is someone doing this snooping? The kind of revelations that Snowden brought to the limelight has led to businesses, individuals and nations to rethink the extent of American penetration into their lives.
The fact that Snowden who was a contractor with the NSA had such extensive access to the documents does itself question the access controls placed by the agency on its sensitive material. The book does not go into the details of how the documents were eventually smuggled out. Snowden is introduced as a geeky young man who enlists in the army to be discharged for a broken leg and later with his formidable computer skills, he finds a job with the CIA. While initially he is a geek who is all gung-ho about his move into the cloak and dagger world of espionage, his move into NSA shakes him completely.
According to The Guardian and Snowden, this was a period when he understood how much American intelligence had penetrated the world and all of it made him completely disillusioned. There followed a furore all over the world in which the world nations, the corporates and the common citizens angrily responded to the extent to which their privacy was violated. And yet if the book is to be believed, the Obama administration was strangely nonchalant and in denial mode all through this.
It then came as a surprise to the law makers that even in the Congress, the opinion was divided on what good the increased amounts of spying into the lives of citizens was doing and also to whether the NSA really needed to be reined in. The Snowden effect was more visible in terms of the steps that netizens adopted all over the world following the revelations.
Technology companies and consumer electronics read Apple have made the encryptions stronger and hopefully made it difficult for the snoops to find their way into the maze of information. Research also points to the fact that terrorist outfits have made their digital security stronger too which sums up the fact that across the globe there is a heightened awareness of the need for systems which are tamper proof.
Snowden obviously became a global fugitive and is currently in Russia with another side effect being that to a section of the Americans, he is also a traitor. He is a symbol or more aptly a channel of communication which told the world to be on their guard.
His morals or ethics are subjects to be debated about and since this book was published by The Guardian, they always treat their subject with a tenderness. But we need to step beyond him as an individual and come to terms with the extent to which the global intelligence network has spread. There is mention in the book of an operative who put his girlfriend on electronic surveillance after they had a spat and I fail to understand the threat to national security in such a case!
Also to note is the reaction meted out to the newspaper from the British authorities following the scoop which leads you to wonder about the freedom of the press. A timely if not slightly dated book but still worth a read. Feb 09, James Roberts rated it it was amazing. First off, I'd like to apologize for not posting earlier.
I finished the book a couple of months ago, and have only recently found the time to write a review. As to the book, I appreciated it because of its perspective. In my opinion, I feel that the message is simple, concise and unbiased. As opposed to what you will get from the American mass media, the UK media etc. I respect the actions taken, after the regular channels had been exhausetd, to no avail. I am of the opinion that the great machine that is the government is neither concerned for nor respectful toward any action that does not preserve or strengthen it's agenda - to amplify and solidify the need for governance.
This book laid out the details in an understandably chronological way, and from multiple perspectives as to lead the reader to make their own assumptions about the validity and motive of Snowdens' series of actions. What I found refreshing, was that for the first time in a very long time, I was able to read the details, without constantly being reminded by the mass media and the government, about how I was supposed to feel. The book was well done, to the point, and an easy read - never boring or lagging. To ask the question is to answer it: asleep at the Great.
To ask the question is to answer it: asleep at the wheel. Suddenly Mr. Snowden's choice in seeking assistance from reporters with the Guardian looks that much more inspired and brilliant to me. Otherwise, the book is "average" to "good" if you are just a plain ol' reader like me. Seemed to be a lot of self-aggrandizement by Mr. Harding and the folks at the Guardian. Makes Snowden out to be a "patriot" and not the "traitor" he is alleged to be. Sure makes the NSA and our politicians -- especially the White House -- as well as the politicians in the UK, look absolutely terrible with all their obvious lying to Congress, lying to each other, lying to the American, UK and world citizens, double-dealing, back sliding, and whatever other invective you wish to direct toward them.
Not "All The President's Men" but not a stinker either. View all 3 comments. A truly enjoyable read. Personally, I would've given it a 5 stars rating, but it took on a more speculative tone and left me with a few questions which I couldn't really decided whether the Author purposefully intended to or simply hadn't answers for that probably got me all riled-up to want to get them answered.
Feb 10, Charity rated it really liked it. The kind of wholesale surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden was exactly the kind of thing, we feared, for which the Patriot Act paved the way.
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So, while my inclination is to say, "I told you so," no one really cares what I thought when the act was first passed so why bother saying it? A commenter on the radio asserted that the U. I would argue there's a third camp of people who know his name but don't know anything else about him, but the division is the source of the point I'm trying to make. I've been inclined to think of Snowden as a hero from the beginning, and I'm even more inclined to think so after reading The Snowden Files.
I'm also inclined to ask my many computer-savvy friends for advice on encryption software for my laptop. Not because I'm engaged in illegal activities, but that's the whole point: the NSA is hoovering up data from everyone, not just from suspected terrorists. If I pissed off someone in the government, I'm sure they could come up with enough evidence from my internet search history and my library records to cobble together a case against me, or against anyone.
The thing I don't quite understand is why more peoplemyself includedaren't totally up-in-arms figuratively speaking about Snowden's revelations. Why are so many of us just going about business as usual?
Is it because we assume we have nothing to hide, and so we're leaving things be and letting it up to the journalists to be targeted as terrorists for reporting government actions that flout our rights under the Constitution? Or is it because we already assumed we had no privacy and so this new information doesn't really bother us?
As one friend puts it, "I assume they already have all of my information anyway. It was a pleasant if disturbing read. I admit, I skimmed the "Shoot the Messenger" chapter in which Harding goes into detail about the inner workings of British government.
The NSA files | The Guardian
I'm still an American, after all, and hearing about what happens in other countries kind of makes me glaze over. I was astounded, however, at the grounding of the flight of the president of Bolivia when he was suspected of smuggling Snowden out of Russia he didn't, btw. No wonder some other countries think of the U. So, my next action is to procure Greenwald's book about the contents of the Snowden leaks, and to maybe buy myself a typewriter and start visiting people in person more often rather than calling or e-mailing.
I harbor substantial feelings about Edward Snowden, but this review isn't about my personal feelings, it's about Luke Harding's work. So whether you view Snowden as a hero, or a traitor, I think this book is worth your time and attention. The text is accessible, the information is intriguing, but the book is bias, and its subjective slant mars what would have been an enjoyable reading experience.
And I feel this is a tragedy to some extent, as the subjective angle was unnecessary. This would have I harbor substantial feelings about Edward Snowden, but this review isn't about my personal feelings, it's about Luke Harding's work. This would have easily been a 4-star book if the narrative had retained an objective tone. As a reader, I do not appreciate when an author blatantly paws at me with their agenda. Clearly Harding is pro-Snowden. Okay, this is fine and dandy. But Harding's subjectivity is a constant source of readerly irritation.
Harding, don't "tell" me how I should feel, allow the reader to come to this place independently. Harding presents some Snowden background, insight as to whom and why Snowden contacted in the early stage of his information leak, and some airport scrambling. Harding also touches on what some of the Snowden files reveal, and the global reaction to these revelations.
Despite my dislike for rather one-sided narratives, I've no reservations recommending this book to anyone interested in learning a bit about Snowden and the subsequent reaction to his decision to leak NSA files. Audiobook : Nicholas Guy Smith gives a strong and intimate reading. He has an English accent, and while I found his pacing a touch slow, I quite enjoyed his narration. This dude has balls of steel.
Being in the bad books of US government and not getting caught is no easy feat to pull off. That shows how smart he is. It was possible only because of the openness of this country in recognizing and encouraging talent. On the other hand, the same country silently spies on its citizens and almost everyone on the planet. It's like setting your teenage child free and tracking their movements secretly by This dude has balls of steel.
It's like setting your teenage child free and tracking their movements secretly by phone. It's in no way freedom, it's pure hypocrisy. A few give more to life than they take out of it. The world runs because of such men. Just like Indian embassy in London went back to typewriters because of this mass surveillance, there will be a day when we all go back to the basics -- grow our own organic food in our backyards, barter goods and services and become luddites, therefore more human. Wrong is the new right, and wrong and right will take turns, and be in a constant cycle.
The Snowden Files
Jan 06, Timthast rated it really liked it. The Story was fascinating and horrifying at the same time. Which is to say literally billions of phone calls and emails by pretty much all Americans and Brits and a large part of the planet, foreign leaders and close allies, US companies, Foreign companies that had nothing to terrorism. Building in back doors to encryption software, goin The Story was fascinating and horrifying at the same time.
Building in back doors to encryption software, going to and getting upfront buy in from all the major tech companies - Google, Apple, Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL. All very unconstitutional in the US. Supported by pretty much the entire government establishment from Bush, to Obama. I came to it with an unclear idea of Snowden.
Was he a good guy or a bad guy. I came away seeing him as a hero who sacrificed his personal liberty to blow the whistle on and hopefully change some of this horrendous behavior. I would have given this a higher ranking but I found the narrative to be a bit disjointed. At times it would go off into side stories and provide WAY too much detail on certain things.
Mar 17, Chaz Hitz rated it it was amazing. If you are like me. I barely noticed the Edward Snowden affair that spread throughout the media like a wild fire this past summer and fall. All I knew was that he leaked national secrets out of the NSA. The official U. I really didn't care at the time but I do now. The author describes in detail of how and why Mr.
If this had not been a real-life situation, described by those close to the whole Snowden affair, it would have been a great fictional spy thriller. You can't make this stuff up and I could not put the book down. I almost read it through one sitting. Apr 05, Richard rated it really liked it. Scary, more frightening than a horror movie. The uncovered truths, revelations, lies that the U. We have become entrapped in a survilence state where these agents are so paranoid! A Scary, more frightening than a horror movie. Anyone who uses technology almost everyone of us to some degree i.
What horrible lives we must live in the 21st century for this to happen to us! Edward Snowden is a hero that has revealed the underbelly, sophistication and all encompassing survelance spelling? View 1 comment. Jun 03, Lino's Version rated it liked it. The Snowden Files Luke Harding While this is a story that needed to be told…it is almost too Hollywood to believe. But what is safety without freedom? Who is afraid of the first amendment?
Why those with and in power of course, for they do not want that power threatened. There is a good magazine article in this book. So while it is a story that n The Snowden Files Luke Harding While this is a story that needed to be told…it is almost too Hollywood to believe. So while it is a story that needed to be told, I would have liked more graphics and fewer words. Thanks 3 stars. Edward Snowden was a year-old computer genius working for the National Security Agency when he shocked the world by exposing the near-universal mass surveillance programs of the United States government.
His whistle blowing has shaken the leaders of nations worldwide, and generated a passionate public debate on the dangers of global monitoring and the threat to individual privacy. For the first time, Harding brings together the many sources and strands of the story—touching on everything from concerns about domestic spying to the complicity of the tech sector—while also placing us in the room with Edward Snowden himself. The result is a gripping insider narrative—and a necessary and timely account of what is at stake for all of us in the new digital age.
It describes an ingenious circular jail…. EN: Time to reread Even President Obama conceded the debate was overdue and reform was required. She also wonders publicly about deleting her Twitter account….
We have good people with good values. But the structures of power that exist are working to their own ends, to extend their capability at the expense of the freedom of all publics. We have stuck the right balance. Govern yourself accordingly. Is this the new rules of the game? EN: It is only funny if you see the point and not the question mark. They hurt our economy. They hurt our country. They limit our ability to speak and think and to live and be creative, to have relationships, to associate freely….
And in some sense its captive. Sep 16, Daniel rated it it was amazing. This book tells the complete story of Snowden. Freedom of the press is indeed very important in a well functioning democracy. Snowden had revealed to the whole world the extent of surveillance that the NSA is performing continuously. Gone are the days of wire-tapping and hidden cameras for suspects; now everyone's electronic communications are stored for analysis forever, and they can listen to anyone in the planet.
I had learnt a great deal about Snowden through this book. Excellent book, this is James Bond story which is actually true. Must read. Apr 25, Mat rated it really liked it. Luke Harding's The Snowden Files is a well-constructed overview of the biggest intelligence leak in history - but it is not without its flaws. The Guardian journalist tells a detailed story of Edward Snowden - from his childhood in a military, Republican family, his short education and brief, failed army career, to his meteoric rise through the intelligence services that eventually enabled him to turn whistleblower.
It's an intriguing tale. Far from being a left-wing radical, Snowden is a staunch Luke Harding's The Snowden Files is a well-constructed overview of the biggest intelligence leak in history - but it is not without its flaws. Far from being a left-wing radical, Snowden is a staunch supporter of libertarian politician Ron Paul, "whose views are well to the right of many Republicans", as Harding puts it. Snowden acted out of a sense of patriotic duty to the US constitution and his outrage at it being repeatedly violated by a government in love with its technological advantage over other nations.
Harding's book is a real page-turner and he tells the story from many angles - but a glaringly absent voice is that of Snowden. Readers may get the feeling that - as with Harding's previous book on WikiLeaks' Julian Assange - he has rushed the book out to beat the protagonist to the chase. Harding seems unable to help himself from making repeated digs at Assange along the way.
The most unforgivable is his criticism that Assange is reckless because "six months after the first stories appeared based on US diplomatic cables, Julian Assange released the entire un-redacted cache of documents". Harding fails to mention that Assange released the cache only because the encryption key had been published without his approval - in Harding's book.
Readers may also balk at Harding's use of pejorative adjectives, so typical of the corporate media. Similarly, Bolivia's president Evo Morales is "an indigenous Indian, who had struggled to read his inauguration speech". There are also moments of corporate media pretension and smugness that may turn the stomach. Harding notes that the New York Times's cafeteria "hums" with "intelligent chatter". Rusbridger decided he might as well still go, despite all the dramas. He boarded the Eurostar train bound for Bordeaux. At first it was hard to concentrate on music. Soon, however, he immersed himself completely in Debussy.
All this does not mean Harding's book should be avoided. It is well-researched, well-written and he makes plenty of salient points. By inserting deliberate weaknesses into encryption systems, the agency has made those systems exploitable. Not just by government agencies, who may be acting with good intentions, but by anybody who can get hold of encryption keys — such as hackers or hostile intelligence agencies. Paradoxically, in its quest to make Americans more secure, the NSA has made American communications less secure; it has undermined the safety of the entire internet.
After all, Harding quotes the documentary maker who Snowden first contacted, Laura Poitras, as saying the whistleblower is "an amazing writer". Most depressing, however, is that for all Snowden's sacrifice and The Guardian's undoubtedly hard work, little will probably change. A well-used sales technique is to give customers a false, high price for a product and then sell it to them at the "reduced" price, so they don't feel so bad about departing with their money. Because Snowden's leak has revealed so much detail, the effect may be that when it comes to surveillance, people are no longer shockable - and don't feel so bad about departing with their secrets.
Tellingly, Harding notes that after the outrage over German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone being hacked, "French reaction was milder than in Germany" when it was revealed France's leader had also been hacked. The intelligence services will undoubtedly go on breaking any new laws that are introduced. Harding says Snowden, now in exile in Russia, still trusts encryption. But others may follow the lead of Indian and Russian diplomats, who are not so sure.
Struggling to come up with any alternative, they have started using typewriters and holding conversations while strolling outdoors. The bitterest irony is that such practices will make them even less accountable. Here are some memorable quotes The zombies were the public, unaware that the iPhone offered the spy agency new snooping capabilities beyond the imagination of the original Big Brother.
The NSA can hoover up photos and voicemail. Particularly useful is geo-data, which locates where a target has been and when. The agency collects billions of records a day showing the location of mobile phone users across the world. In other words, the agency is notified each time a target sends an email, writes a text, begins a chat, or even fires up their computer. In only a small fraction of international internet traffic went via non-US routes. At the same time, these firms vie for government contracts, hire ex-Washington staff for the inside track and spend millions lobbying for legislation in their favour.
These corporate slogans now seemed to rebound upon their originators with mocking laughter. But in October it emerged there was indeed a back door — just one that the companies involved knew nothing about. Properly implemented strong crypto systems are one of the few things that you can rely on. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.
In an average month it collects around half a billion phone calls, emails and text messages. On a normal day this includes 20 million telephone calls and 10 million internet exchanges. On Christmas Eve it collected about 13 million phone calls, the magazine reported. Sometimes the figures are higher. At least that was the idea. An NSA memo from , published by the Guardian, showed it was bugging at least 35 world leaders. One eager official came up with numbers, including the 35 world leaders.
Ironically enough, Merkel picked up the phone, called Obama and asked him what the hell was going on. The publication of secret US diplomatic cables from around the world in late did have consequences. A handful of US ambassadors were forced to depart; others shifted posts; the cables fed into the Arab Spring, crystallising popular resentment against corrupt regimes in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. Not all of the consequences were negative. Paradoxically, the reputation of the US foreign service went up.
American diplomats, broadly speaking, emerged as intelligent, principled and hard-working. A few had genuine literary talent. Instead, the debate in Australia was a depressing echo of the one in Britain, with some politicians and Murdoch-owned newspapers attacking the media that broke the story. David Cameron found himself the target of veiled criticism. European parliamentarians voted for tough new rules on data privacy Perhaps the most unexpected corollary of the Snowden affair was the return of the typewriter.
After discovering that the NSA bugged its diplomats, the Indian government turned to old technology. From the summer of the Indian High Commission in London began using typewriters again. Nothing top secret was stored in electronic form, high commissioner Jaimini Bhagwati told the Times of India. The magazine quoted former intelligence officials who said morale inside the NSA was low. If governments, officials and spy chiefs wanted to kick newspapers, that was their prerogative [said Alan Rusbridger].
But they should consider what the next leaker might do in the absence of professional journalist outlets. He or she might just dump everything out on the uncensorable worldwide web. In practice this was a joke, Snowden told [journalist Glenn] Greenwald: it was already hoovering up metadata from millions of Americans.
Phone records, email headers, subject lines, seized without acknowledgement or consent. Oct 15, Dahlia rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction. The beginning of the Snowden Files by Luke Harding is quite promising. You have a feeling like you're reading a spy novel. The story begins with Snowden having a somewhat normal life, working for the NSA and living in Hawaii with his girlfriend.
But, as we all know, one day Snowden disappears with hundreds of top secret files and the hunt begins. This was the most interesting part of the book fo The beginning of the Snowden Files by Luke Harding is quite promising. This was the most interesting part of the book for me. I couldn't believe how dangerous it is to be a journalist or how important it is to have an independent newspaper.. The story about the events which occurred before the Guardian's publication of Snowden's files are unbelievable.
However, once the gripping story of the journalists ends, there is a lot of information about the files; there are code names, numbers, short summaries and names. There are a lot of names. The author doesn't forget a single one and everyone has something bad to say about the whistle-blower. The middle of the book is filled with names and dates and whatnot and the story about Snowden just fades into background. I think there's not a single page where he's mentioned.
Certain historical events are used as introductions to surveillance programmes.
The chapters are well-organised, but I found them boring. A lot of people were mentioned I didn't care about. The last fifty pages were boring. I had to skim through them to reach the epilogue. Finally, something about Snowden's life in Russia and the consequences of his actions. What have I learned while reading this? Well, I don't understand why people were shocked to hear the US government was collecting internet communications from at least nine major US internet companies and that it was keeping telephone and e-mail records of the US citizens.
If you didn't know that, it was because you didn't want to see. See no evil, speak no evil Has something changed? Was Snowden's sacrifice for nothing? The epilogue clearly shows that not much has changed. Big Brother is still watching us. Sep 14, Bria rated it did not like it. Let's put aside the debate whether Snowden was right or wrong to release thousands of classified government documents and focus on what the outcome of this was.
To me, the outcome or reason for releasing the documents is the real issue here. Imagine you are in an airport, would you say the word "bomb"? Considering the most relevant contexts in which the files have 'surfaced' including media and archives , it reflects on how artists are deploying the files as raw material. The book looks at the various civil society actors who have been appropriating the historic leak and orders their responses according to contexts in which the Snowden documents have been published: media, art and archives.
The different approaches share the common goal of rendering the documents accessible — to both present and future audiences. Reaching out to the general public, they have also tasked themselves with reflecting on the complex political, social and technological realities that the Snowden documents have helped to uncover. The Snowden disclosures have triggered debates on democracy, civil rights, the internet and intelligence agencies all around the world. These debates have led to a number of political changes, including negative ones: e. Meanwhile, the documents that triggered the debates remain arcane for the general public, as well as for many experts.