Whistleblowers have always displayed the courage of conviction and prioritisation of the public good with least concern for personal safety (“Take a bow, Edward Snowden,” June 14). They are no doubt heroes who richly deserve recognition. Our failure to respect their invaluable service to humanity will lead to the extinction of the rare species of whistleblowers.
M.V. Nagavender Rao,
The U.S. government’s stand on its surveillance of phone and internet records shows how governments have been using the excuse of “greater public good” to subvert civil liberties and individual privacy. That many Americans do not view the covert operations as a threat is indeed startling.
A lesson or two must be drawn from the episode. People may not necessarily be mindful of the importance of civil liberties and privacy in building a developed society. Awareness should be built through a variety of campaigns and academic discourse.
As pointed out in the editorial, the courageous deeds of a few individuals have changed history. The storming of Bastille led to the crumbling of the French monarchy and changed the political map of Europe. Likewise, too much of American snooping into the private affairs of its own citizens and others around the world may lead to the emergence of new standards with respect to individual freedom.
It may not be possible for a few individuals and selective leaks to restrain the Americans. It requires worldwide public outrage to tell the U.S. to mind its own business.
On the one hand, Americans claim they are the champions of human rights and freedom and, on the other, they shamelessly spy on their citizens. The claim by the national security chief that dozens of terror attacks had been thwarted using phone data surveillance sounds hollow and should be condemned by all. Hail Edward Snowden.