Edward Snowden Actions

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1. What is Edward Snowden’s argument supporting his decision to reveal the information according to his statement in The Guardian article? Summarize his argument.

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According to Edward Snowden’s statement in The Guardian article, he believed that the value of the internet, along with basic privacy is being destroyed by surveillance which NSA secretly building. He said that he did not want to live in a world where there is no privacy and no room for intellectual exploration and creativity even though he has had a salary approximately $200,000, stable career and a family he loves. He could not allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and fundamental liberties for people around the world with that surveillance machine, he said.

He stated that he would be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that he loves were revealed even for an instant. According to The Guardian article, he wanted it the focus on those documents and the debate which he hoped that would trigger among citizens around the globe about what kind of world we want to live in.

Even though, he expected the US government to attempt to use all its weight to punish him, he was not afraid since it was his choice he responded. He agreed that he had broken the Espionage Act and helped their enemies, but that could be used against anyone who points out how massive and invasive the system has become. The only thing that he feared was the harmful effects on his family he said.

Since the time when he worked in Geneva, he realized that he was part of something that was doing far more harm than good. It was the first time he thought about revealing government secrets. At that time, he chose not to expose and waited around someone else to act, he said.

2. Before determining whether Snowden’s actions were morally justified, what information would you need? Provide a bullet list and think about the facts and apply how one would respond to the identifiable issues in this case.

According to the Ethics Sage (2015), De George represented the critical five criteria to know whistleblowing is morally allowed. To begin with, the action will affect damage to other people.

Second, it is reasonable once the employee reports the action to his or her supervisor. Third, if the supervisors do nothing, the employee should take the issue to the board. Then, evidence must be reasonable. Last but not least, the employee must reasonably believe that going public will create the considerable change to protect the public and is worth the hazards to oneself.

To determine whether Snowden’s actions were ethically justified, we would need to know that which information is valid; Snowden’s or the US governments’. We additionally need to know whether which side made harmful impact on others. As indicated by The Guardian (2013), Edward Snowden admitted that he could not allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and fundamental liberties for individuals around the world with that massive surveillance machine. While that presents the US government may do considerable harm to others. The ranking member on the Select Committee on Intelligence, Chambliss said that Snowden needs to clarify why he has disclosed sources and methods that are going to put American lives in threat. In Chambliss view, Snowden has caused terrorists to change their strategies to thwart detection.

3. Under the utilitarianism theory, would Snowden’s decision to reveal the information be supported? Explain your answer using principles from the utilitarian teleology. Would Snowden be granted immunity to the U.S. using the utilitarianism theory?

Utilitarianism’s core idea is that whether actions are morally right or wrong relies upon their effects. Utilitarianism theory claims to consequences. Nathanson stated that utilitarianism is a type of consequentialism since it lays on the idea that it is the consequences or results of activities, laws, policies that determine if they are good or bad, right or wrong. In this view, whether Snowden’s actions were legal or illegal, the consequences which world knows the truth was good consequence.

According to the CNET (2013), the American Civil Liberties Union has launched a petition calling for the amnesty of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The ACLU said that Edward Snowden is a great American who deserves full immunity for his patriotic acts and they are proud to serve as his legal advisors. It represents that Snowden may make right effect on society. In my view, under the utilitarianism theory, Snowden would be granted immunity to the U.S. As stated by CNET (2019), the petition has more than 40,000 signatures.

4. Under Kant theory, would Snowden’s decision to reveal the information be supported? Explain your answer using principles from Kant’s deontology. Would Snowden be granted immunity to the U.S. using the Kant theory?

Kant believed that certain types of actions were absolutely prohibited, even in cases where the action would bring about more happiness than the alternative. Under Kant theory, Snowden’s decision to reveal the information would not be supported. According to Kant’s theory, the rightness or wrongness of actions does not depend on their consequences but on whether they fulfill our duty. Under this theory, Snowden’s duty was to keep the secret and develop the system whether his work was harmful or not.


The Guardian (2013), “Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelation” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/09/edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower-surveillance

CBS Interactive (2013), “Hong Kong: Edward Snowden’s welcoming refuge” https://www.cbsnews.com/news/hong-kong-edward-snowdens-welcoming-refuge/

National Public Radio (2013), “NSA leaks caused terrorists to change tactics, Senator says” https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2013/06/16/192346807/senator-nsa-leaks-caused-terrorists-to-change-tactics

CNET (2014), “ACLU: Obama, grant Edward Snowden immunity now” https://www.cnet.com/news/aclu-obama-grant-edward-snowden-immunity-now/

Nathanson, S., “Act and Rule Utilitarianism” published on Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, https://www.iep.utm.edu/util-a-r/

CSUS “Kantian ethics” https://www.csus.edu/indiv/g/gaskilld/ethics/kantian%20ethics.htm

Ethics sage (2015), “Is whistleblowing a moral act” https://www.ethicssage.com/2015/07/is-whistleblowing-a-moral-act.html    

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Edward Snowden Actions. (2021, Mar 27). Retrieved November 26, 2022 , from

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