Here’s an e-mail Edward Snowden sent to ACLU supporters yesterday, on the first anniversary of The Guardian’s initial story — based on information provided by Snowden — on how surveillance by the US government had gotten out of control:
In the long, dark shadow cast by the security state, a free society cannot thrive. That’s why one year ago I brought evidence of these irresponsible activities to the public — to spark the very discussion the U.S. government didn’t want the American people to have. With every revelation, more and more light coursed through a National Security Agency that had grown too comfortable operating in the dark and without public consent. Soon incredible things began occurring that would have been unimaginable years ago. A federal judge in open court called an NSA mass surveillance program likely unconstitutional and “almost Orwellian.” Congress and President Obama have called for an end to the dragnet collection of the intimate details of our lives. Today legislation to begin rolling back the surveillance state is moving in Congress after more than a decade of impasse.
Every American who jealously guards their rights must do their best to engage in digital self-defense and proactively protect their electronic devices and communications. Every step we can take to secure ourselves from a government that no longer respects our privacy is a patriotic act. We’ve come a long way, but there’s more to be done.