Masha Gessen is a pro-democracy activist and journalist born in Moscow who for years risked her freedom and more to stand up to Vladimir Putin’s regime. She now lives in New York. Shortly after last week’s election of Donald Trump as president, she published a remarkable essay, Autocracy: Rules for Survival. Her number one rule? Believe the autocrat.
Timothy H. Edgar defended privacy as an ACLU lawyer before going inside America’s growing surveillance state as an intelligence official in both the Bush and Obama administrations – a story he tells in Beyond Snowden: Privacy, Mass Surveillance and the Struggle to Reform the NSA. In 2013, Edgar left government to become a Senior Fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute and helped put together Brown’s Executive Master in Cybersecurity. Edgar also serves on the advisory board of Virtru, an encryption software company. Edgar’s work has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, Foreign Affairs, and Wired. Edgar is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Dartmouth College.
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Jack Goldsmith’s response to my call for a pardon for Edward Snowden deserves a reply. I also have a few thoughts on what Susan Hennessey and Ben Wittes have now added to the debate.
I have signed on to the letter asking President Obama to pardon Edward Snowden that was released today. I know this will be an unpopular position among many of my former colleagues in the national security community. My reasons for doing so are not fully captured by that letter. They are different from those who see Snowden simply as a hero and the NSA as the villain.
The UK’s decision to leave the European Union could be a big blow for United States national security – and for global privacy. The UK has always served as a bridge between America and Europe. Its decision to leave the EU makes it a less effective one.
The next round of surveillance reform is a time for the United States to go big – and to go global. We should get out of our defensive crouch and show the world how to balance robust intelligence capabilities with rules to protect privacy and civil liberties in the digital age.
The Brussels terror attacks, like the Paris attacks last year, were an assault on European values of democracy and human rights. While Brussels has a serious problem with violent extremism—it has contributed hundreds of foreign fighters to ISIL—it remains a charming city, far from the “hellhole” that you-know-who described earlier this year.
I recently appeared on the Brown University Cybersecurity News Podcast to discuss bridging the lawyer and technology divide in the debate between Apple and the FBI. Interested Lawfare readers can listen to the full audio.