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Interview with Edward Snowden (spiegel.de)
279 points by bjoko 33 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 158 comments



> a guy who was supposed to be teaching me...sometimes...would spin around in his chair, showing me nudes of whatever target's wife he's looking at. And he's like: "Bonus!"

And that's just a lackey... this only worries me as to what a determined, calculating person is capable of with these tools.

> The most important part of the Rubik's cube was actually not as a concealment device, but a distraction device...I really gave Rubik's cubes to everyone in my office as gifts and guards saw me coming and going with this Rubik's cube all the time. So I was the Rubik's cube guy. And when I came out of the tunnel with my contraband and saw one of the bored guards, I sometimes tossed the cube to him. He's like, "Oh, man, I had one of these things when I was a kid, but you know, I could never solve it. So I just pulled the stickers off." That was exactly what I had done -- but for different reasons.

Love this, totally poetic at the end there. This really does read like a kid's spy thriller.

Can't wait to read the book.


> this only worries me as to what a determined, calculating person is capable of with these tools.

What do you think they would do that they haven't been doing for decades? This target has a court-ordered wiretap on them. The police can request everything up to and including bugging a target's house in these cases, as long as the judge approves.

You seem to believe they can get this data for anybody, but the company that has the data will not hand it over without a court order


This is a terrible title, which would be better as "Interview with Edward Snowden".

"You can be sure I was pushed" is an aside, and has little of the connotation the title has (that Snowden truly believes he's at risk of being assassinated); rather, it's a tossed-off comment about the fact that he's not suicidal, despite reports that he's been depressed.


> "You can be sure I was pushed" is an aside, and has little of the connotation the title has (that Snowden truly believes he's at risk of being assassinated)

The vehemence of his denial and insistence that it be on the record point to Snowden trying to get in front of any potential suicide narrative being used as cover for his assassination. I don't see how there's little connotation of that.


I totally agree that it is a terrible title. Der Spiegel does very high quality reporting, but I got the impression that German journalist like to use sensationalist quotes as the title even more than English speaking ones do.

That said, I genuinely got the impression that Snowden is concerned that he might get assassinated and that his history of depression might be used covered it up.


There's nothing wrong with the title. It's a direct quote from the interview. Also, the article literally has "Interview with Edward Snowden" above it with a picture of him. Just because it entices you to read doesn't automatically make it clickbait. I do think that the subtitle "Interview with Edward Snowden" would be a much better title for the HN submission. The current title without any context (picture + sub title) doesn't provide any information if it just appears in a list of text links.


"Terrible title for HN" captures more precisely what I meant to say, thanks. I don't so much care how publications choose to tease articles in their own pages.


Or better yet, "Edward Snowden: 'I'm an indoor cat'"


One thing I always find striking is that Snowden is very good at articulating himself on the fly. He doesn’t always “sell” the general audience, as he gets too technical. However, he’s extremely good at providing solid answers consistently to pretty much every question.


I thought it was kind of surprising at first then I realized it’s because he already thought deeply about everything he’s been asked.

After careful deliberation he made a moral choice to leak information at great risk to himself. This makes him not only good to talk through the technical implications of his choices but also moral ones.


Please consider alternative narratives.

He acted selfishly, not morally. Like a startup founder he wanted to disrupt an existing infrastructure, with a one-sided view of the trajectory his impact would have on the domain. Any collateral damage would be easy to hide in the personal narrative memory hole.

Deep thoughts and intellectual defenses are not so hard to construct, should not be uncritically accepted with significant corroborating evidence, and should certainly not be taken in any way to imply morality, as shown by the growing list of deep thinkers who supported and participated in Jeffrey Epstein's schemes.

With Snowden we have very little corroboration, so best reserve judgement. And if he does wind up dying as many other Russian actors have...


> Please consider alternative narratives.

No.

> He acted selfishly, not morally.

No, he acted morally.

> Deep thoughts and intellectual defenses are not so hard to construct, should not be uncritically accepted with significant corroborating evidence, and should certainly not be taken in any way to imply morality, as shown by the growing list of deep thinkers who supported and participated in Jeffrey Epstein's schemes.

No. It's simple. Snowden = Good. Stop trying to "muh Russians!" this.

> With Snowden we have very little corroboration, so best reserve judgement.

No. His documents appear sufficiently authentic to be acted upon. I, and people I know, are not reserving our judgements.

> And if he does wind up dying as many other Russian actors have...

We all will know exactly what sort of people run our government.


Huh? "No no he is good stop." There are still a lot of unknowns, It is good to leave some room for doubt. Always.


It's important to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out.


> No. It's simple. Snowden = Good.

Sure, if you only read his side of the story. Anyone looks good if they get to make up their own narrative about themselves.

The fact is that anyone with half a brain should have known decades ago that the US government, like all governments, does all kinds of surveillance and classifies all kinds of information, and not all of it is going to be pretty. When you tell the government you want it to protect your security and stop terrorist attacks, it's going to do whatever it takes to do that. For Snowden to talk as though he just found all this out when he got access to NSA's super sekrit systems doesn't show that he's good. It just shows that he was ignorant.

Also, while it's perfectly reasonable for ordinary citizens to question what level of surveillance is justified and what kind of information the public should get to see in order to hold the government accountable, it's not reasonable for an individual to just decide on his own that it's OK to violate the law and the agreements he signed up to when he got his security clearance. That is exactly the kind of personal hubris and lack of accountability that we are trying to stop in people who have privileged access to government secrets. We have processes for holding our government accountable: we have FOIA requests, we have lawsuits, and ultimately we have elections. Those processes don't always work well, but that doesn't mean it's ok for one person to arrogate to himself the right to bypass them all.


> The fact is that anyone with half a brain should have known decades ago that the US government, like all governments, does all kinds of surveillance [...]

Before Snowden you could say that TLAs were surely reading everything, but no one took that seriously -- "what a tinfoil hatter" might have been their internal response.

After Snowden we all know that TLAs are reading everything.

> Also, while it's perfectly reasonable for ordinary citizens to question what level of surveillance is justified and what kind of information the public should get to see in order to hold the government accountable, it's not reasonable for an individual to just decide on his own that it's OK to violate the law [...]

Indeed. Yet it happened, and now we have to decide if what Snowden did is good or bad, and that's not as easy as it is to determine that he broke the law.

Another case like Snowden's that of the former head of the NSA, Admiral Rogers, who visited the President elect to tell him (many presume) that he was being wiretapped. Was that breaking the law? Almost certainly -- surely it must be illegal to tell the target of a secret FISA warrant that they are being monitored, though in this case it wasn't the President-elect, but someone in his campaign, but still, telling must have revealed things which it would not be legal to. Was it good? That depends on a great deal on your political views. And even if what Admiral Rogers did turns out to have been legal, you might still think it was bad.

Snowden clearly broke the law, perhaps even committed treason as defined by the U.S. Constitution. But so did the Founders (they inarguably committed treason against the Crown). Breaking the law is not necessarily enough to make an action bad, and sometimes it's more than enough to make it good. As to Snowden, I think the metaphorical jury is still out.


> Before Snowden you could say that TLAs were surely reading everything, but no one took that seriously

If this is true (I'm not sure it is, "no one" is a pretty strong claim), why not?

> it happened, and now we have to decide if what Snowden did is good or bad

No, we don't. We only have to decide if, given this additional information we now have about what the government is doing (if it was additional to you--it wasn't really additional to me, I had for years assumed that something similar was going on even if I didn't know every little detail), we should do something about it. That doesn't require us to pass judgment at all on Snowden.


> After Snowden we all know that TLAs are reading everything.

No, we don't. According to the documents Snowden released, none of the TLAs in the US are reading everything. What we do know now is that China has a list of compromised systems because Snowden gave it to them.


We "ordinary citizens" were not informed of the extent of the spying. How were we supposed to hold the governments accountable? They lied. He exposed them. A lot of speculation just vanished and was replaced by certainty. The discussions could move on to what to do about the intrusions instead of arguing over how extensive they are.

With the heavy information asymmetry in this case it's laughable to even talk about accountability. How should accountability be possible when the people in charge lie with impunity?

> When you tell the government you want it to protect your security and stop terrorist attacks, it's going to do whatever it takes to do that.

Whatever it takes? At some point it's reasonable to provide to the public evidence of the government's actions. Disregarding any laws. For me, that point was well reached. Snowden was justified in exposing the extensive spying. By all means he chose to use.


See my responses to AnimalMuppet downthread.


I'm with you, except for the last paragraph. There, I'm more ambivalent.

Yes, I kind of agree with you on your general point. But if we don't know what the government is doing, and we aren't going to be told, how are we supposed to hold them accountable? In general, you're right, but there does come a point at which a whistleblower is in fact necessary. Whether this one reached that point is a separate question.


> if we don't know what the government is doing, and we aren't going to be told, how are we supposed to hold them accountable?

By voting out of office the elected officials that allowed us not to be told what was going on.

The members of the intelligence committees in both houses of Congress are cleared for everything. If they are too incompetent to spot, for example, when an agency director is lying to them (as Snowden alleges that James Clapper did), then vote them out and get competent ones in there who can do their homework and spot the lies and call the director on them.

But actually I don't think most of them are that incompetent. I think the idea that all this was happening and no elected representatives knew about it, they all just took the agencies' word that oh, no, perish the thought, of course we wouldn't bend the rules, is ridiculous. The elected representatives knew what was going on and let it happen. If you don't like that, vote them out. The same goes if years go by and no information ever seems to come out about what the agencies are doing, and nobody in Congress seems to have any curiosity about it. Oversight is their job. If they're not doing it, vote them out.


It's not that simple. The members of Congress aren't telling you that they aren't doing proper oversight on Clapper. The NSA isn't telling you that they're exceeding their charter (and the Constitution). So how do you know who to start voting out, if you don't know that there's anything going on for which you should be voting people out?


> how do you know who to start voting out, if you don't know that there's anything going on for which you should be voting people out?

Even if you didn't know it before, you know it now (assuming you think that they should be voted out based on what you know now).

But really, if you didn't know, or at least suspect, what was going on before, why not? This isn't the first time information has leaked about government agencies doing questionable things. As I said, the government is going to do whatever it takes to protect our security and stop terrorist attacks, because that's what we, through our elected representatives, have told them we want. Once you give the government that job, you can't just sit back and assume all is well. Our form of government depends on the constant vigilance of citizens, particularly when we know we've given the government a job that can't be done under Marquess of Queensberry rules.


Well said.


> He acted selfishly

Risking imprisonment isn’t exactly what I’d call a selfish act. How do you see his action as selfish. He’s lost so much.

And what corroboration do you feel is necessary. Snowden simply leaked documents. The government hasn’t contradicted that.


> Risking imprisonment isn’t exactly what I’d call a selfish act.

Immediately giving lists of compromised systems to China in an attempt to gain asylum in Hong Kong is a selfish act.


Can you point out the “collateral damage”? I can’t think of any. He did damage the mass surveillance system but that was intentional.


I’m pro choice but I can accept the notion someone has a moral objection to abortion. In the same way, even if you disagree with the man, Snowden had a moral objection to surveillance so he did something about it.


> Please consider alternative narratives.

Why not just consider facts and accept what we know while also accepting that all the facts are not known or possibly can not be known rather than relying on opinionated narratives because it makes for a better story and doesn't require critical thinking?


>The class of which I am a part of, the global technological community, was for the longest time apolitical. We have this history of thinking: "We're going to make the world better."

I think a lot of people in the tech community need to come to grips with the fact that you can't be apolitical in a democratic country. Refusing to engage in politics is an abdication of your role in a democratic society. You certainly have the right to do that, but that abdication can't be apolitical. It is instead a tacit endorsement of the status quo. How good or bad that is depends on your personal politics and whoever happens to be in political control at the time.

One example that I think most people on HN can agree on is climate change. You can either work to fight climate change or you are allowing our current path of ignoring the problem to continue. Think of it like inertia. If we don't interact with a political issue, it will keep moving unchanged forever. The only way it changes is when we apply political force to it.


This is the sort of "you're either with us or against us" attitude that democracy could do without. The average persons' ability to change anything re: climate change is minimal, especially if the bulk of carbon emissions originate in authoritarian regimes on the other side of the planet.

Would you accuse the Swiss of endorsing the Third Reich on account of their neutrality? Is an impartial judge abdicating his judicial and political responsibilities by refusing to take sides in a case?

As a counterpoint, there are many sides that are worth taking that will never have the kind of popular support they need to make any kind of difference in a democratic society, and the two major political choices (Pub vs Dem, left v right, lib vs conservative) have been so badly confused and crosspolinated that it is difficult to tell them apart. Show me a calm, multiparty democracy with coalition-building as a core tenant and I would gladly join the ranks of political advocates -- but I will NOT be told to pick one shitty side over another.


It's a pity to see the downvotes you're getting for a very reasonable comment. This is exactly the problem with the original parent comment, "you're with us or against us". Zealotry for political issues is still zealotry, and has no place in a civil society. It's a shame if the HN zeitgeist has really turned into that.


this sounds like a strawman. The OP was asking for a politically engaged citizenry, not "zealots". The status quo in many democratic countries is apathy in large segments of the population and not even conscious abstention.

the message of the original post was that democratic citizens need to recognise that duties and freedoms come together, that the latter don't exist without the former. Many people appear to take their rights for granted.


> Would you accuse the Swiss of endorsing the Third Reich on account of their neutrality? Is an impartial judge abdicating his judicial and political responsibilities by refusing to take sides in a case?

Yes and yes, by the original principle.


I think it's perfectly legitimate to reject a two party system, but I would argue that actively rejecting it w/ a protest write-in is more effective if and when you can.

I have friends who complain about the "system", but have a hard time going into detail on what they claim is busted (even when I agree with them). For them it boils down to laziness and/or apathy. I wish they'd vote like Rhino or w/e to at least make a statement.

I also have a pretty unpopular opinion that voting should be mandatory, much easier to do (time off work), enforced by fine, and that you should be able to write in whatever you want on the ballot rather than vote for a specific candidate (I like ranked voting).


Please stop this. You're just buying into the false narrative, pushed specifically by media companies, that "you can't disengage". This specifically serves their purpose of creating content for the sake of conflict, in order to make money off your attention.

You can disengage. In fact, I highly encourage it, and one's mental health greatly benefits from it. You're not more "enlightened" or "wise" if you follow along the twists and turns of every silly development, most of which can ultimately turn out to have no impact on daily life. Forest for the trees and all that.

Trust the system you live in, and for most HN readers, from developed western economies, things will self-correct. If you have specific ideas and a platform that you feel isn't represented, jump into the political arena yourself, it's certainly your right. But please don't force the rest of us to tag along.


> Please stop this. You're just buying into the false narrative, pushed specifically by media companies, that "you can't disengage". This specifically serves their purpose of creating content for the sake of conflict, in order to make money off your attention.

You're creating a false dichotomy; being engaged with the political process is not the same thing as consuming a lot of media. Provided you're getting high-quality news you don't need to spend a ton of time to get a good grasp of the issues.

> Trust the system you live in

The "system you live in" is other people who are choosing to be engaged with the political process and shaping it based on their desires. If you chose to disengage, that doesn't stop their participation, but it means your interests aren't represented. That's your prerogative, but as OP says, it's an active endorsement of the status quo - you're choosing not to participate because you're happy enough with how things are for you right now and don't feel the need to affect change for others.


Disengagement is orthogonal to voting. You can be disengaged from politics but still vote for representatives who will be engaged on your behalf.


>Trust the system you live in, and for most HN readers, from developed western economies, things will self-correct.

The people are the system in a democracy. While I can understand not worrying about every little decision the government makes, ignoring it completely is what leads a community to decay.

Any illusion of the system self correcting is a consequence of the US and western world’s dominance after winning WW2. With the kind of economic advantage, everyone was lifted up simultaneously. The real test is what happens when resources have to start being rationed.


“The people” are not the entirety of the system. The mechanisms in place for aggregating the inputs from the individuals also has an impact. There is no canonical “most democratic” way to do this, only a variety of different democratic mechanisms, which can produce different results even if the individuals made the same choices.

That isn’t to say that people don’t have a responsibility to endeavor to vote well.


I would paraphrase what you're saying like this: Don't hyperengage. Don't live and die by every news cycle. Don't let outrage consume you. Don't "other" those who disagree with you. Retain your civility, and your humanity.

But, I would say, still engage to the degree of learning about the issues, learning about candidates' positions, and voting.


You don't have to engage politically, but there is some reason to believe that broad civil society participation is important. This encompasses everything from programming meetups, to sports clubs, to churches, to charity, to a PTA.

There is also a lot of evidence that finding a civil society group of some kind is very good emotionally for individuals, so it's a win win


I think this is a false dichotomy. Most people should probably be less engaged than they are with the daily/weekly news and might even do well to ignore it entirely. But that need not have anything to do with how engaged you are with the democracy you live in or how much effort you spend trying to change society for the better.


That is a highly privileged position from someone who benefits from the current system, or at the very least isn't actively harmed by it.

I realize I know nothing about your station, but understand that being able to make that statement is inherently privileged, and one millions of people around the world cannot proclaim.

If you have access to benefits and advantages in the system that others do not, then if you are not actively working to improve that system, you are COMPLICIT. Plain and simple.

Nothing happens autonomously or through self-correction. It happens through the blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifice of others (including those as privileged as yourself) while you disengage and offer nothing.


People hate the word privilege nowadays (and that is probably why you are being downvoted), but I really can't think of any other word for the idea that something like civil rights for LGBTQ+ people happens out of some type of "self-correction". People fight for that. They literally die for that. It doesn't just happen automatically.

To quote Desmond Tutu:

>If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.


Did Desmond Tutu participate in all conflicts in the world, or only the selected ones?

Because people can care about many things, and yet your favorite cause may not be among them.


Things were achieved by blood for millennia, and not much got better. But after a couple centuries of technological growth and free exchange, things are better. The person you're replying to doesn't "disengage and offer nothing", they participate in technological growth and free exchange, for which you declare them complicit and call for blood.


> You're just buying into the false narrative, pushed specifically by media companies, that "you can't disengage". This specifically serves their purpose of creating content for the sake of conflict, in order to make money off your attention.

Making money off it is just one effect, the other is distraction from serious and important things. To just disengage from them and "let other people handle it" achieves the same.

> But please don't force the rest of us to tag along.

By saying people are evading their responsibilities?


> Trust the system you live in,

In a democracy trusting the system ultimately means trusting the rest of the population in theory and trusting the people who actually vote in practise.

If your are ok with that, you can disengage, but you have to understand that system is ultimately the people who are actually voting and that they all may have a different agenda than you.


“Trust the system”?


>Trust the system you live in, and for most HN readers, from developed western economies, things will self-correct.

Why should I? Is there any evidence that things "self-correct"? Self-correct according to whose interests? Surely mine are different to yours, so we have different standards for what that "correction" entails. Have you read any normative social theory written within the past century?


> most people on HN can agree on is climate change.

There are many aspects of the climate change issue where disagreement is reasonable. Does industrial progress need to be sacrificed to prevent climate change? How much governmental intervention is helpful? How accurate are predictions of what is coming? What is the most efficient way to prevent climate change and how effective will those actions be? There is no correct path forward. To say you think we can all agree on climate change implies that anyone who disagrees with you is wrong.


I also don't think it's unreasonable to question if the net magnitude and effects of human induced climate change have been (or even can be at this point) modeled well enough to make accurate predictions.

It's certainly not a consensus as far as I'm concerned although I think most reasonable people agree it's likely we are altering the climate.


You are right, I could have phrased that better. We certainly won't all agree on the specific path forward. What I meant was that most people on here can probably agree that our current path is not adequately addressing the problem, that changes need to be made going forward, and those changes require political action.


Importantly we need to understand that we can't require first to have that agreement and only after that start addressing the problem itself. Just like with space exploration, where we can't postpone it till there will be no hunger on Earth, we can't postpone acting on climate crisis until we agree on how to act.

We have to act without full agreement.


And at best we will get expansive half measures.

The best thing that could happen to climate science would be to decouple from political ideology.


That's a really tall order. To have science - in general, since if that happens with climate it probably happens with other areas - to be decoupled from politics is to significantly change our current practices of governance. Hopefully for better - but it's a hard task to do.


So what are you supposed to do in the US if you agree that climate change is a problem? The democratic party is not interested in solving it in the time-frame required (i.e. anti-nuclear) and the republican party might be okay with nuclear but isn't really that interested in solving the issue.

Which party do you try to participate in to affect change? Both have effectively given up on evidence-based policies.


Of the 10 Democratic presidential primary candidates who were on the stage this week, only two (Sanders and Warren) are explicitly against nuclear power. Harris' position is unclear, and the rest are in favour.

https://www.npr.org/2019/09/11/758173003/climate-issues-wher...


Green party!

Or act locally within your county and city, as any successful local model can be later taken up by other municipalities.


The Green Party loathes nuclear energy.


> Does industrial progress need to be sacrificed to prevent climate change?

How can you even ask such a question with a straight face? What benefit is there from a couple of additional points of GDP if we destroy our habitat?

The problem with all of the questions you raise is I have never seen anybody asking them in good faith. They are used purely to derail discussion or any active problems or solutions.

A generous explanation would be that since the two sides can't agree that there is a problem to begin with, there can be no logical debate about the right way to SOLVE it.

As such, anyone who is asking these questions never offers ALTERNATIVES - all they offer is DOING NOTHING.

Which, given the stakes involved, is not passive, but an active impediment to moving forward.

> How much governmental intervention is helpful?

Private industry never moves in a direction that compromises profits without government intervention. That is inherent in free market capitalism, and has been demonstrated again and again worldwide.

> How accurate are predictions of what is coming?

Oh no, what if we improve our planet and habitat and keep our ecosystem and food production environments stable for nothing?

> What is the most efficient way to prevent climate change and how effective will those actions be?

One side offers some ideas. The other offers doing nothing. There is no disagreement here either, just good faith and bad.

> There is no correct path forward.

I'll finally agree with you there. I sincerely hope there will be future civilizations to look back on the historical record of the time and shake their heads in amazement at our folly, because that is not a guaranteed outcome.


I agree with what you say; I think those downvoting don't understand important things.

My take on these questions:

> How much governmental intervention is helpful?

Climate crisis is similar to slowly unfolding war with a powerful, but slow adversary. A world war. So our good experiences and lessons from how to win a war could be helpful, including questions regarding government.

How much government intervention is helpful in WWII?

> How accurate are predictions of what is coming?

Nice question, but sort of beside the point. Can be answered, but it leads away from the problem.

Suppose our predictions are not too accurate. Given the stakes, we still have to do a lot of efforts, since in case we overestimated the problem the downside isn't big - comparing to potential downside of doing nothing.

The truth is that we don't really know the certainty of predictions. Last time I've heard the climatologists were trying to be conservative - they reported about problems they were fairly sure to see, to avoid being called alarmists. Now we see that predictions were rather rosy comparing to actual - more grim - situation. But that's what I've heard.

> What is the most efficient way to prevent climate change and how effective will those actions be?

Start running right now. Otherwise - imagine similar question asked to JFK, when he announced the Moon race. How long would you think people can debate rather silly and theoretical topic at the time of flying to the Moon? Given that USSR wasn't that keen to fly there in the first place, there were plenty of reasons to be reasonable and save a lot of efforts and money. Didn't USA have better things to do?

We can debate about effectiveness, but only if we're already running. Before that we first need to start running, however counterintuitive it could sound.


In some sense ok. But practically we really need to accept that there are a range of apolitical opinions. There is a massive issue with this proposed alternative - it is divisive. That line of thinking leads to the classic "with us or against us" style model where one group accepts there is a problem, defines group boundaries then labels everyone not in the group as part of the problem.

If that framing takes hold (and if "can't be apolitical" becomes the dominant philosophy then it will take hold amongst the activists); what is the plan for resolving the issue? Once people are publicly labelled as 'tacitly endorsing' something that they aren't going to be receptive to new ideas.

In terms of actually doing something there is more power in inclusive ideologies where everyone puts their preferences on the table, listens to alternatives and discusses options with people they don't necessarily agree with, and pick a solution that is as fair and reasonable as possible and the people who are disadvantaged accept it on the grounds that they'll get a win next time.

Division is one of a couple of easy paths to conflict. Best to avoid it and let people claim neutrality.


I think it's even worse than you say. By avoiding politics you tacitly endorse the status quo. You can't opt out - everyone's speech and actions affect the political landscapes no matter how much you would rather pretend that you are above it.


> By avoiding politics you tacitly endorse the status quo.

A statement wrong on so many levels. Good grief, we really need to start emphasizing philosophy again in our society.

> no matter how much you would rather pretend that you are above it.

And a very wrong assumption that people who would rather not engage in politics, or at least public displays of political affiliation somehow must all think they are "above" it.

I usually have a word to describe people who tend to think along these lines: young.


> I usually have a word to describe people who tend to think along these lines: young.

"Ask the young. They know everything."


>A statement wrong on so many levels. Good grief, we really need to start emphasizing philosophy again in our society.

Ironically, many philosophers, from Rousseau to Marx to Marcuse would probably agree at least somewhat with what GP said. It's trivial - think of any "radical" philosopher (and they are usually the ones who drive change) and then I will agree with you - we need to emphasize philosophy, just not in the way you were thinking.


If there is something specific you would like people to do, please do go ahead and advocate for it. What organizations do you support, and why? Not this content-free guilt-mongering, it doesn't help anyone.


>If there is something specific you would like people to do, please do go ahead and advocate for it.

Become involved. I think the minimum you should do is to vote in every election in your municipality. One of the main causes of the problems in our current system is the atrocious voter turnout rate. You can even just submit your entire ballot blank. Politicians can't see who voted for what, but they can see if you show up to the polls. They see which demographics vote, what issues those demographics care about, and they adjust their platform accordingly. This is one of the primary reasons that people say there aren't any politicians who represent their values. We need to break that feedback loop.

>What organizations do you support, and why?

HN is not the place for that discussion.

>Not this content-free guilt-mongering, it doesn't help anyone.

I am simply trying to get people to give up this notion that political neutrality is a virtue or something to be proud of. Refusing to participate in politics doesn't make politics go away. If this comment gets one person to reconsider that stance, I would consider that helping.


>> What organizations do you support, and why?

> HN is not the place for that discussion.

I assume you're thinking of the guidelines to avoid political arguments on Hacker News. I agree that we probably shouldn't talk about politics everywhere.

But it seems rather unfortunate. If voting is important, then figuring out who to vote for is important, and we should share what we've learned?


>> One of the main causes of the problems in our current system is the atrocious voter turnout rate.

Have you considered why this is, rather than just thinking our population are a bunch of idiots who don't like to vote? Consider the incentives (or lack thereof) that make people do this.


>Become involved. I think the minimum you should do is to vote in every election in your municipality. One of the main causes of the problems in our current system is the atrocious voter turnout rate.

Hot take: voting is not ceasing to be apolitical. Voting is something you do, usually once or twice a year every few years. If you vote and don't take part in any collective action beyond that, you are apolitical.

>HN is not the place for that discussion.

This is typical "radical liberal" cowardice: insist that everyone must stop living apolitical lives, get organized, get involved, agitate, educate, organize... except by involved, you actually mean taking the most individualist, minimal form of political action available, rather than actually being political.

For the record, I send regular dues to the DSA and ACLU, as well as belonging to a local Democratic caucus. Socialism, as it turns out, does indeed take up quite a lot of evenings.

Being actually political, I am spending my interventions in this thread sticking up for the right of others to be apolitical, because frankly, most political organizations are currently extraordinarily hostile to anyone who wants to get properly involved, to be political in the proper way, without agreeing a priori to a party line. And why shouldn't they be, from their own point of view? Everything from the Republican Party to the Neighborhood Progressives maintain the convenient fiction that they are private clubs with a right to run themselves according to their private standards, rather than being, at least aspirationally, collective community assemblies.

All of which is to say: why should you subject yourself to an environment you find unpleasant on a massive and regular basis, while that environment insists you're free to leave at any time? The answer is, as you had said, because that environment also insists that any failure to show up and be part of the private club activities is letting the enemy win.

Sort out your distinctions between private and public institutions.


> If there is something specific you would like people to do, please do go ahead and advocate for it.

Asking someone to tell you what you're supposed to do defeats the purpose of participating, which was kind of the point the OP was making.


Honestly, for me now, neither of the big two political parties, at least at the federal level. Join any organization that fights for your constitutional rights: all of them. People have to understand that these interests are so entrenched and powerful, and the game is so rigged, it will only get worse.


Working to make the world better involves value judgements and societal change, this is means you are pursuing a political agenda. Unless your definition of political = party politics, which I'd argue is a harmful definition.


"if you choose not to decide you still have made a choice" -descartes


I'd argue that everyone has an agenda, and so everyone's political. Us tech people were for the longest time arrogant enough to think we can "get around" the normal political system, e.g. hack it, disrupt it, change it from without.

Facebook is political. Uber is political, Airbnb is political, Google, ...

Hopefully there's going to be some mind shifts. We need to work with the "other side", not around them.


>I think a lot of people in the tech community need to come to grips with the fact that you can't be apolitical in a democratic country.

Sounds like an argument against democracy, so I think you should either reevaluate your notion of "being apolitical", or reevaluate your argument.


You conflate allowing something to happen, with endorsing it.


>> Refusing to engage in politics is an abdication of your role in a democratic society

I was never assigned this role. I do not accept your premise.


I respect Snowden's ability to clearly articulate his position. I look forward to his book. And unlike the somewhat polarizing discussions of others, I found his statement on the difference to between intelligence and the actions of covert action, propaganda, and influence to be quite reasonable. In much the same way that accounting systems suggest you firewall the people who can sign checks from the people who can enter legitimate expenses to prevent embezzlement, the 'rules' in an intelligence agency have to firewall the collection and analysis of intelligence from the operational abilities on the other side.

We see this is civil intelligence agencies where police officers (who are the operational end of law enforcement) are given direct access to intelligence sources (from places like Palintir) and then abuse that relationship to collect intelligence on enemies (like ex spouses) in order to inform how they can operate against them.

A more effective system is to put a strong firewall between the intelligence and the operator so that there is always documentation when operations requests intelligence information and the justification given for that collection. It creates an auditable paper trail that allows for a prosecutorial effort to be mounted against bad actors.

As one person put it, watching the watchers only works if you have a record of everything they have done that can be authenticated. Such a system would log every piece of intelligence an analyst received, and with a check in place to validate a 'need to know' for things like a target's spouses nude photos, your auditors could weed out bad actors in the pipeline. That is the sort of structure that makes institutions stable and more difficult to corrupt. Processes that survive execution with a number of bad actors.


> if I had wanted to live a safe life, I would still be sitting in Hawaii in paradise with the woman I love collecting a huge paycheck to do almost no work.

Regardless of if he is a hero or villain, he does have integrity.

People that sacrifices their safety or lives to help a good cause are the ones I respect the most. I hope he will be able to visit his country safely sometime.

p.s. Please fix the title, it is clickbaity and almost unrelated to the actual article/interview.


> Regardless of if he is a hero or villain, he does have integrity.

Edward Snowden became an international celebrity because of what he did, and traded a comfortable life in Hawaii for a comfortable life in Moscow. Please don't speak of him in the same vein as, for example, a disappeared Chinese dissident who has actually sacrificed everything for what they believe.


> traded a comfortable life in Hawaii for a comfortable life in Moscow

A comfortable life in Moscow that was never guaranteed beforehand, and could be arbitrarily taken away with no notice. Being fortune enough to end up in a decent situation does not change what he sacrificed.


> Being fortune enough to end up in a decent situation does not change what he sacrificed.

It really bugs me that people who defend him for ideological reasons cannot admit that he had benefited from the entire ordeal. He bemoaned the lack of respect at CIA (being the IT guy isn't high up on the totem pole) and now he can skype into a conference in Geneva with thousands of people hanging on his every word. He has a twitter account with a headshot of him doing his best impersonation of a greek philosopher with millions of followers.

To a lot of people, people that don't feel respected in the life and work, that type of celebrity is priceless. Money and a beach house is nothing compared to that.

If you don't think people like Assange and Snowden have a hero complex, and are only motivated by "truth" and "justice", you are kidding yourself.


None of the things he has was guaranteed when he went public. There was a good chance he never made it out of Hong Kong as a free man, and a decent chance of death. Even if he did desire the fame, which I do not personally believe, he risked everything for it.


I don't think I ever insinuated his move was without risk. I said it was calculated to shield himself from any consequence, and maintain the narrative so he could enjoy his new-found power and celebrity.

Like I said, you want a real hero search in the political prisons of Iran or China. Or Russia, the place Snowden now calls home (under circumstances we will never know).


He thought he was going to get a comfortable life in Hong Kong by leaking lists of compromised systems to China. That China laughed him out of the country after receiving the documents does not change what he thought his trade was.


So in this fantasy scenario, China is fine completely screwing him over, and then let's him inform everyone what information they now have? Seems dumb.


He had already broadcast that he had given the information to China. https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1260306/edward-s...

> Seems dumb.

It sure does seem dumb on Snowden's part, doesn't it? Nobody with a technical background who has read Snowden's documents and read what he thought they said has ever accused him of being smart.


>He had already broadcast that he had given the information to China.

Where in that article does it say anything like that? As the closest I can see is that he may have shown something to a Malaysian owned paper.

>It sure does seem dumb on Snowden's part, doesn't it?

No, why would China let him go and publicly release things? There would be so many better ways to handle him.


> Where in that article does it say anything like that?

That newspaper is based in China, which can do with information and people within its borders as it pleases. Why do you think he gave out that information out to begin with? There is no benefit to Americans.

He leaked all of that and more just to expose one illegal US program (phone metadata collection). Anybody with a high school degree would think of a better way to handle that.

> No, why would China let him go and publicly release things? There would be so many better ways to handle him.

He did that before China knew what he was going to do. There are so many better ways for Snowden to have handled that data, yes.


>That newspaper is based in China, which can do with information and people within its borders as it pleases. Why do you think he gave out that information out to begin with? There is no benefit to Americans.

It's based in Hong Kong, and the Chinese state accessing published information isn't noteworthy. He exposed numerous illegal hacks done by the NSA on Hong Kong civilians, it's beneficial for Americans to know that their government is doing such a thing.

>He leaked all of that and more just to expose one illegal US program (phone metadata collection)

Your "smoking gun" on giving data to the Chinese exposes yet another illegal US program, and if you look through the other released information you'll find many more.

>He did that before China knew what he was going to do. There are so many better ways for Snowden to have handled that data, yes

No, according to your ridiculous fantasy, he released the information after giving it to the Chinese. It wouldn't matter what he was going to do then, letting him out of Chinese custody would be a huge mistake as it becomes advantageous for him to expose that he gave China information.


> He exposed numerous illegal hacks done by the NSA on Hong Kong civilians

These hacks are not illegal. I'm flabbergasted that you would think they were. In addition to those legal hacks on Hong Kong infrastructure, he also exposed legal hacks on mainland Chinese infrastructure. Americans already know the government is doing these things. They do not need to know the details of which systems were compromised and when, and the Chinese government especially should not know these things.

Again, there is only one illegal data collection program in the terabytes of data that Snowden leaked. That is reckless and stupid at the very least and treasonous by his leaks of Chinese target details to China at worst. Did you ever stop to think why he would choose to divulge that information first, while he was in Hong Kong?

> No, according to your ridiculous fantasy, he released the information after giving it to the Chinese.

That is your ridiculous fantasy. I never said that.


>The small sample data suggests secret and illegal NSA attacks on Hong Kong computers...

From your source. You're flabbergasted that I think the illegal programs you brought up were illegal.


What law are they breaking? I'm flabbergasted that you believe something is illegal just because Snowden says it is, when it is so obviously incorrect.

Do you also believe Snowden's ridiculous description of PRISM? That bumbling illiterate was so proud of finding a data integration project between the FBI and the NSA that he asked The Washington Post to publish the description in full while ranting about "omniscient, automatic, mass surveillance" and warned the Post's reporter melodramatically that the government would kill the reporter if he didn't publish quickly.


They're breaking the CFAA, hacking foreign computers is still illegal in most situations. The NSA isn't immune to the law, it's just unlikely to be prosecuted m

So you think Snowden is a bumbling idiot yet he somehow faked millions of files detailing the NSA's misdeeds? I hope you're acting independently, it's far too depressing to think that you are a paid troll.


> They're breaking the CFAA

CFAA – 18 USC 1030(f) explicitly allows this. Do you want to try again?

> So you think Snowden is a bumbling idiot yet he somehow faked millions of files detailing the NSA's misdeeds?

Who said he faked the files? This is the second time you have put words into my mouth. I have always said that the files are genuine and that Snowden did not understand them because he has the reading level and the technical ability of an elementary school student.

> I hope you're acting independently, it's far too depressing to think that you are a paid troll.

I know people who implemented the systems at the dot coms that send information to the FBI in the PRISM slides. I have laughed at Snowden's ridiculous misinterpretation of those slides for the past six years. It is a source of continuing amusement that there remain some people who should know better that still believe Snowden's interpretation.


>CFAA – 18 USC 1030(f) explicitly allows this.

Unless yoy can produce the lawful authorization given to access these computers, that subsection does not permit their actions.

>Snowden did not understand them because he has the reading level and the technical ability of an elementary school student.

So your argument is that the documents he revealed don't detail a mass surveillance program. Would never have guessed that.

>I know people who implemented the systems at the dot coms that send information to the FBI in the PRISM slides

All the dot coms listed by PRISM deny being a part of such a program. If you're legit, you're probably burning bridges here.


> Unless yoy can produce the lawful authorization given to access these computers, that subsection does not permit their actions.

The NSA is indeed authorized to break into communications systems abroad. That is half of its charter.

> So your argument is that the documents he revealed don't detail a mass surveillance program

My argument is that PRISM, which he was so excited to tell everyone about, is not a mass surveillance program as he had claimed. The closest thing to a mass surveillance program in the US that he leaked (and the only illegal NSA program in his leaks) was phone metadata collection, but the restrictions on how that data could be queried makes calling it mass surveillance a bit of a stretch.

> All the dot coms listed by PRISM deny being a part of such a program.

They aren't a part of PRISM — the slides very clearly show them to be outside of PRISM, which Snowden and Greenwald were too stupid to understand. They integrate with the FBI (and EU law enforcement, etc.) to transfer data for specific accounts under court-ordered surveillance. The slides show that PRISM is an NSA data ingestion system to get the FBI's data into the NSA's search indices. The only two organizations involved in implementing that are the NSA and the FBI.


>The NSA is indeed authorized to break into communications systems abroad. That is half of its charter.

The NSA does not have carte blanche to infiltrate any computer without question.


You are putting words in my mouth again. They cannot hack domestic infrastructure. They can infiltrate foreign infrastructure belonging to foreigners if it is helpful for national security (a very low bar because any networked computer can act as a jumping off point to attack another).


You still have to prove both that this was helpful to national security and that no US citizens were part of the target, and you need to do so for every hack done. Otherwise it's illegal.


The document doesn't say that any US citizens' data was taken. It just says that the NSA has access to those Chinese computer systems. This is not illegal. You would think that if Snowden had information about actually illegal things the NSA did with that access, that would show up in the giant stash of documents he took, but no such document has appeared.


This isn't how this works. Every hack is illegal unless the NSA gets proper authorization beforehand and then does not accidentally acquire any US citizens data. A "giant stash of documents" would only exisy if the NSA had gotten legal clearance for everything beforehand, it hasn't appeared because these were all illegal, and there isn't a need for more evidence to show that they were illegal.


> Every hack is illegal unless the NSA gets proper authorization beforehand

Wrong. I already told you that the authorization is granted to the NSA as part of its charter.

> and then does not accidentally acquire any US citizens data.

Also wrong. There is no law against accidental acquisition of Americans' data, and there is no reason to believe that merely obtaining access to computer systems magically results in acquisition of Americans'data.

> it hasn't appeared because these were all illegal,

This is the most obviously wrong of all your claims. Infiltrating Chinese computer systems was so clearly legal that nobody even bothered to file a lawsuit about it, not even Larry Klayman.


> Let's assume you could simply poke an icon and all the hidden activity would stop, would you do that?

> DER SPIEGEL: Of course.

That I think is the crux of the issue - our consent is not real.


No, that doesn't seem quite right. I think the issue is that people don't understand just how valuable their data is.

Technically, it's posed as an exchange. People "pay" their data to get these services. People so freely give their data/privacy so much that at this point, it's a required part of using most of humanity's technology. The icon exists, it's called the power button, because if you stop paying, they don't provide the service anymore.

Don't get me wrong, it's a terrible state of affairs, and plenty of people don't even realize they're "paying" like this (likely on purpose, data is much more valuable when people don't realise the data is being collected). But there's no competition, no alternate provider of free maps & guidance that is as good as google maps and protects privacy.

So yes, of course. For the same reason that if I could simply poke an icon and receive $1000, of course I would do that.


>people don't understand just how valuable their data is.

My data isn't valuable. Your data isn't valuable[1]. The data of all HN users is of some value. The data of all Facebook users is highly valuable. But no single FB user has any claim to having valuable data; not even in proportion.

The value is in having a collected, curated, normalized, and cross-tabulated dataset. One that can be queried at scale and with good certainty to accuracy. The value is emergent, a property of the whole graph; it's not merely sum of all the parts nodes[2]. This is one of the reasons "databases" are a separate protected category under IP laws. Come to think of it, the value was created by Facebook, by collecting, managing, and processing the dataset, rather than by users collecting the individual datasets.

We may need a whole separate branch of jurisprudence and legislation, dealing with situations where value (or harm) is an emergent phenomenon in a dense network, not only not attributable directly to any singular node, but also much greater than straightforward sum of nodes' values.

There's a similar (if of destructive value) case for vulnerable "internet of things" / "smart devices". Any singular such device being vulnerable to remote exploit is barely notable. Together, a vast army of vulnerable small "smart devices" easily become a botnet in hands of criminals, with power vastly larger than mere sum of parts. Question arises how to handle responsibility & culpability of vendors (or owners).

--

[1] aside of being directly useful to you.

[2] possible edges = n(n-1)/2, thus value = O(n* *2)


> We may need a whole separate branch of jurisprudence and legislation, dealing with situations where value (or harm) is an emergent phenomenon in a dense network, not only not attributable directly to any singular node, but also much greater than straightforward sum of nodes' values.

The basic concepts already exist in current jurisprudence, like class actions (many people aggregating together) and punitive damages (damages exceeding cause and effect losses). Don't think these concepts require a sea change, just a modern-day upgrade.


I dont actually think people would poke the icon :) they like the trade, which is weird, but psychology is weird sometimes. I asked my friend if it bothers him that his google home device sends all sound in his home to google, and he replied ”no, I have nothing to hide”. Well I never claimed that he had? If he did it would be even more stupid. I think he secretly likes that google listens, for some strange reason. Being spied upon gives some strange sense of being connected, of not being alone, perhaps? Its scary not to be a part of the system. People like having their choices made for them and all that. Nothing new! Consciousness is growing so I think this will change in the long run but its a very slow process


This is the most concise way to explain to pedestrians (who are now largely aware of tracking) the crux of the issue. Who in their right mind wouldn't poke the icon?

Hope this becomes a thing, I'll certainly be spreading it.


Let's hope it doesn't come to... defenestration!


> Defenestration

The act of throwing out of a window. Early 17th century from modern Latin defenestratio(n-), from de- ‘down from’ + Latin fenestra ‘window’.


always reminds me of one of my favorite plants, the succulent fenestraria, that basically has a super cool adaptation to survive in dry spells by using leaves that are basically fiber optic cables to deliver light to chloroplasts underground.


I'm turned off by typos, especially one in the subject's name so early into the text -- "Snwoden"


If you were working against police as a group, you may have no escape. No one will ever know.


Probably worth calling out, since we're apparently supposed to believe Jeffrey Epstein broke his neck by kneeling too hard.


why does this get downvoted ?

Epstein dying in his cell is a major scandal.


Because it's completely unrelated.


Is it? People killing others in secret to avoid information getting out but framing it differently.


The really dumb title for this submission is distracting from the better parts of the interview. That quote wasn't Snowden implying he thinks he's in imminent danger of being murdered; he was just rebutting people saying that he was suicidal.

The interview itself has zero relationship to the whole Epstein thing (of which I find many of the details to be scandalous).


> That quote wasn't Snowden implying he thinks he's in imminent danger of being murdered

Probably not, but it's pretty clear he believes that secret services killing someone and making the death appear a suicide is a common occurrence. And I doubt he doesn't have the Epstein case in mind, as the most recent example.


Yes. Everything is related if you generalize sufficiently, and all you're doing is drawing pointless lines between two unrelated situations.


Spiegel has become one of the worst propaganda magazines (not for the government, but for highest bidder) in Germany. It was once famous for investigative journalism, nowadays the most relevant question is who paid most for the article.

Sorry for this rant.

Still, occasionally you'll get a really good article. This is probably one of those.


Sorry, no sorry for your posting.

That wasn't a rant. It was more a failed attempt to spread FUD.

If you have actual information how and when companies regularly bid/paid for articles, you should tell us. Who bid/paid for the articles in the current edition, with the main article about the car industry?


All traditional reporting institutions have been fighting for their survival for a decade or so now.


[flagged]


Please share with us what countries you think it's safe to be in when you are the #1 target of the US government. El Chapo's hundreds of millions/billions? in payoffs couldn't protect him so you must have some really amazing places in mind.


If I exposed sources and methods i'd goto Moscow too. I'm not saying what he did was stupid, quite the opposite. To save himself from a prison cell and trial he did exactly the right thing. I'm saying lets not pretend he's anything but a defector who didn't want to risk a punishment for what he decided needed to be done.


agent and under protection are two different things.


technically no, an agent is a foreign asset.


Facts getting downvoted. This place has become Reddit with even more blind arrogance.

Myth 2: The men and women who work for the CIA are spies and agents

Citizens who work for the CIA are officers – not agents or spies. All employees, from operations officers, to analysts, to librarians and public affairs, are considered CIA officers.

So, who is a CIA agent? Our operations officers recruit well-placed human assets with access to information. These spies are agents. They provide critical information about their country to help America. Operations officers are CIA employees who spot, recruit, and handle foreign agents. They are experts in understanding human nature, emotions, intentions, and motivations.

https://www.cia.gov/news-information/featured-story-archive/...


If, in your own words, “I don't think the Kremlin has much use for him anymore tbh”, then the definition you quoted doesn’t fit him being an agent.


> “I don't think the Kremlin has much use for him anymore tbh"

That doesn't mean they'll just let him leave.

> definition you quoted doesn’t fit him being an agent.

A foreign asset is an agent. FBI calls their employees "agents", the intel community does not.


Your description denies that Snowden is an asset.


Care to hypothesise what those rules might be? Because he does criticise the Russian government openly and often, so he certainly doesn’t look like a pawn, even if Putin is playing metaphorical chess against the whole world.


That's a very good question i've thought about as well. I don't think the Kremlin has much use for him anymore tbh, but they aren't going to hand him over either without getting anything in return. He's too much of a PR gift.

> Because he does criticise the Russian government openly and often

He is careful in what he says, and makes sure not to question the levers of power Putin has (elections, policy state, etc.). I have no doubt he has been given clear guidelines of what to avoid saying, as he is living by the good graces of the Kremlin now.


The defenestration of Snowden.


He comes off as a guy with integrity. But what about Julian Assange? The consensus in the US media now seems to be that he just wanted to hurt Hillary by helping Donald Trump, and thus was working for team Russia?


The ad hoc but exceedingly purposeful collaboration between Wikileaks, Russian military and civilian agents, the Trump campaign and other actors is documented extensively in the Mueller report. The Report[1] podcast does an excellent job of making it more accessible. Longtime US intelligence community players eg [2] have made explicit claims that Wikileaks is in part a Russian intel operation. Those claims should be taken with some salt, all is not spy novels and deep state games, but it seems clear that motivated and intelligent "transparency" actors like Assange and Snowden can- want to- cause asymmetrical chaos, so are useful to support.

1. https://www.lawfareblog.com/introducing-report-podcast-serie...

2. https://www.google.com/amp/s/20committee.com/2015/08/31/wiki...


If you can prove knowledge and intent, you can charge under a whole variety of crimes.

Has the US criminal justice system gotten so weak from prioritizing easy wins for the sake of getting hired at a private law firm that they don’t even know how to prosecute or even ask Congress for transparent mechanisms to prosecute?

What is even the end goal beyond giving US intelligence a bad day? Your allegations do not pass muster.


Is Snowden publishing a book at the same time there is some confusion about voting in Russian elections? I'm a big fan of Snowden and don't want to insinuate malice. Is this just a mere coincidence?

https://www.newsweek.com/russia-novosibirsk-sergey-boyko-nav...


It's an English-language title, and publishers typically schedule things months or years in advance.


The book will be released on September 17 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_Day_(United_State...


Of course the US would not push him through a window but someone that wanted to damage the US international image might...


If you read American history there are all kinds of shady things that the CIA have done. You might be surprised to learn the lengths they will take to protect American interests.


Maybe it wasn't clear from my comment.

My point was not that the US/CIA don't "push people out of windows" but that they wouldn't do it because Snowden is such a public figure.


I do wonder which specific philosophical objection to suicide Snowden ascribes to?


If I were afraid that I might be hurled out of a window against my will, I think publicly going on the record as philosophically opposed to suicide would be a very good idea.


If I were a trolling or narcissistic prankster considering suicide, I might do the same. (No suggestion or accusation about Snowden is implied.)


If I had to guess, given his character, I would hazard something along the lines of "if you have the opportunity to make the world a better place, then you have the moral obligation to". If he were in a position where he wanted to commit suicide, it would be the "easy way out" - analogous to continuing his easy life in Hawaii, instead of throwing it all away out of duty.

Of course one can contrive scenarios where suicide is "the right thing to do", but I doubt Snowden expects to find himself in such a situation.




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