Edward Snowden is a name you must have heard often due to his bold steps to leak information about the surveillance systems. Though he was seen as a traitor by many, he also had the support of several people. Ron Paul, well known in American Politics besides his contributions as a physician and as an author, has often supported Snowden. Snowden too has spoken high of Ron Paul during his presidential campaigns. Snowden changed the world with the information he leaked as much as the Quantum code did when it came out.
So who and what is Edward Snowden? Is he a hero or a maverick in America? Here are some quick facts to know him:
Born in North Carolina, after break in his high school career, Snowden went on to study computers. With IQ scores above 145, he was always known as a smart deep thinking young man. He did not obtain an undergraduate degree but he made an attempt to gain his masters online.
With a 6-day training in Java core programming, Edward Snowden also learned ethical hacking. He also then joined the US Army Reserve. When he broke his legs in a training accident, even before the completion of his training he had to leave the army. That was when he joined as the security specialist in the non-classified section of the Maryland’s Center for Advanced Study of Language. He had to undergo strict tests to qualify for this job that gave him high-security clearances.
He then moved on to take up an IT job with CIA in Langley, Virginia. He was popular in his office with his IT and computer skills. This even paved way for his entitlement to the technology specialist training in the secret school of the CIA. He then rose to popularity as a cybersecurity specialist and was also assigned as the President’s support in NATO, 2008. As he was doubted about accessing some restricted confidential files, Snowden then quit his job at the CIA.
Then he moved on to few other stints with Dell and other companies. He rose to fame in America when he leaked information about the NSA surveillance systems. Here are some of the popular truths brought to light by Snowden:
- Several telephone companies were providing customer mobile records to the NSA. This lead to the reformation of the program by the President.
- Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British spy agency, closely working with the NSA was tapping information in the Internet gathering global data passing through optic fiber cables.
- PRISM, the surveillance program of NSA which collects information from Internet service providers was another truth exposed by Snowden.
- Another major place where the NSA was seeing all the data on the internet with the widest reaching channels was XKeyscore. This gave the NSA an insight into each user’s Internet usage behavior and information that the user uploaded or downloaded from the internet.
- The hacking team of the NSA which used malware to draw out information was exposed. Whenever the NSA surveillance programs could not retrieve any required information, they relied on their team of hackers, Tailored Access Operations team to gain information.
There were several other such revelations about the NSA which were earlier hidden from the world and which were brought out by Edward Snowden that put landed him in hot water.
Ron talks to Jan Skoyles of The Real Asset Company about why gold is great for the international monetary system and how our whole concept of what money is and how we use money is rapidly changing.