1. Home
  2. Samfunnsfaglig engelskChevronRight
  3. Current debates in the English-speaking worldChevronRight
  4. Edward Snowdon - Hero or Traitor?ChevronRight
SubjectMaterialFagstoff

Fagartikkel

Edward Snowdon - Hero or Traitor?

While many Americans blame him for putting their lives at risk by revealing secret information, others view him as a hero for making them aware of how human rights, such as the right to privacy, are violated.

Avisforsider med bilder av Edward Snowden og president Obama. Foto.

Who Is Edward Snowden?

In June 2013, this face appeared on screens and front pages all over the world. A few weeks earlier Edward Joseph Snowden (b. 1983) had met with two reporters. One of the reporters was Glenn Greenwald. In Hong Kong, Snowden decided to hand over classified documents from his employer, a company with close links to the American National Security Agency (NSA). In his work as an infrastructure analyst Snowden had come across a massive internet and phone surveillance program initiated by the American and British governments.

Most notably, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a supposed ally, not an enemy of the USA, was among the persons who had been subjected to phone tapping. Snowden's leak of classified information made him one of the most wanted men in the world. He currently lives in refuge in Russia, and Putin, the Russian president, has characterized him as a champion for human rights. Snowden, the whistle-blower, is one of the reasons why US - Russia relations, that had improved since the Cold War, are strained at the moment.

Useful Words

Vocabulary

transparency, surveillance, monitoring, data privacy, dystopian, alienation, totalitarian, censorship, dissenters, whistle-blower, hacking, intelligence, interception, supervision, CCTV camera

Interview With Edward Snowden

In this interview (35 min.) recorded in March 2014, Edward Snowden reflects on his revelation of classified material. What made him do it? Has he committed a crime? Has he put the security of nations at risk? Was it a brave and admirable thing to do? Watch the interview. It is recommended to use the English subtitles.

An error occurd while loading an external resource.
An error occurd while loading an external resource.

After watching the video, answer these questions:

  1. How does he characterize himself? Does he recognize himself as a whistle-blower, traitor or hero?
  2. Interpret what he might mean by stating: "I am an American.."
  3. How did he get access to the classfied material?
  4. What does he answer when asked what propelled him to leak the information?
  5. Snowden remarks that intelligence does things that are good and things that should not be done. What things is he referring to that are good and bad respectively?
  6. Why did he not go to Congress with the information he had?
  7. He ended up trusting the information to journalists? Why?
  8. In what respect does he mention the 1st Amendment?
  9. What was the intention behind the PRISM program?
  10. Why did he see PRISM as a severe attack on human rights?
  11. What does Snowden say about cyber hacking?
  12. In what context is Snowden talking about Google and Yahoo?
  13. Snowden compares the use of surveillance in the USA and Russia. Why is his conclusion alarming?
  14. What measures is Snowden suggesting to secure a free and open Internet?
  15. How does Snowden characterize the anti-terror programs initiated by the USA?
  16. It is maintained that whether people tend to see Snowden as a hero or traitor, does not depend on political views. What aspect do they think is more relevant? Why?
  17. What references are given to Orwell's dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four and Big Brother?
  18. Snowden winds up the interview by giving a message. Which?

President Obama About the Mass Surveillance Programs

After the leak of sensational information about programs monitoring internet and telephone communication among supposed enemies and allies alike, President Barack Obama had to make a statement. Watch a video clip from his speech in June 2013.

Obama defends internet surveillance programs

After watching the clip, answer these questions:

  1. Why was the President sceptical when he got to know about the programs?
  2. What made him change his mind?
  3. How does he defend the programs?
  4. Explain the point he is making about finding a balance.
  5. How does he try to convince the audience? Does he succeed, do you think?

Make a Talk Show

Famous TV hosts like Ellen DeGeneres and David Letterman would see an interview with Edward Snowden as the major achievement in their career.

Pretend you are a TV host and have made the great catch - an interview with Edward Snowden and President Barack Obama. Due to Snowden's current asylum, he has to be interviewed by means of a network television transmission.

Resources:

How to make your own talk show

A TV host has to do a lot of research:

Make a Demonstration Poster

A committee called, Give Us the Internet Back, has planned a big demonstration. You are supposed to make the posters. What headlines would you make? Make a digital collage of your posters.

Oral

  • Make a conversation where one student asks questions about deleting the footprints he/she makes online and another student gives relevant advice.
    Use "delete me", "erase me" or "slett meg" as search words and find relevant information before you start the conversation.
  • Make a class debate where one half supports the views of President Barack Obama and many of his fellow Americans and the other half favors Snowden's views. Prepare well by studying arguments pro et con before starting the debate.

Discuss

  • Is Edward Snowden a hero or traitor?
  • In what way does mass surveillance represent a threat against human rights?

Learning content

Current debates in the English-speaking world

What is core content and additional content?
SubjectEmne

Fagstoff

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Multiculturalism - A Challenge?

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Multicultural Societies in a Historic Perspective

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Consumerism

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Social Media and Political Change

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Racism

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    The Death Penalty - A Brief History

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Surveillance

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Terrorism - a Violent Alternative

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Child Soldiers

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    The Right to Bear Arms

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Illegal Organ Donation

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Multicultural Britain

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    On the Way to the Melting Pot

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Occupy Wall Street

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Political Graffiti

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Malala

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    "A Long Way Gone" Ishmael Beah

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Bowling for Columbine (film)

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Crossing Dangerous Borders

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    GITMO - Guantanamo Bay

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Food-related issues

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Gender Equality

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Mediatization and Politics

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    List of recommended films

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Recommended list of novels

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
SubjectEmne

Oppgaver og aktiviteter

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Consumerism - Tasks

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Consumerism - Project

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Prefixes in Terrorism Vocabulary

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Child Soldiers – Tasks

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Youth Unemployment

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Outsourced (film)

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    The Constant Gardener

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Human Trafficking

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Task - Guns and Democracy

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    The Right to Bear Arms - Tasks

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Role-play: The Right to Bear Arms

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Conflicts – Project

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    David Cameron on Multiculturalism

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Indigenous People in Multicultural Societies

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Public Protest, Vocabulary - Drag and Drop

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    They Said "No" - Project

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Where Do Racism and Prejudice Come From?

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    9/11 - The Neighbor That Disappeared

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Terrorist by John Updike

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    22 July – Darkness at Noon

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Blood Diamond (film)

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Aids in Sub-Saharan Africa

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Food - Tasks

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    The Glass Ceiling - Tasks

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff