Barry Eisler writes about the struggle to set the government's path into a more constitutional direction in his new thriller, The God's Eye View. I received a pre-pub copy for review. The technothriller I'm writing about this issue right now is tentatively called CypherGhost and I'm halfway through it, but my hacker antagonist is significantly flawed. Before Ed Snowden, there was no chance we’d think to write these books, based loosely on the dark, sordid reality of the NSA.
The idea of giving Snowden what Petraeus got is a slap in the face for all potential whistleblowers. Snowden deserves a ticker-tape parade down Fifth Avenue. If our government is to defy the constitution because it no longer sees laws as the boundaries for its action, then it doesn't deserve to continue its existence. Rand Paul agrees on this... most of the other Presidential candidates fail in this respect. So, I've no one to vote for since Rand Paul isn't possible. Bernie Sanders comes close to what I believe on privacy issues, but not close enough. Lots of voters, especially libertarian-liberals, feel like I do, but we're a tiny fraction of the voting public.
Congress, in passing the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA S. 754 [114th Congress]), has taken a big step toward defining all hackers as terrorists. It further implies that all security consultants are hackers, and therefore terrorists. Without security consultants, all Internet use and all email will be caveat emptor. Countries within the five eyes, including Great Britain, are attempting to end encryption. Without encryption, everyone is at risk of identity theft whenever they use the Internet or send or receive email. By my estimate, over half of all Americans have already had their identities stolen. CISA makes it much worse. Snowden’s work illustrates the danger for all to see. The public debate occurred because of him.
So, as for Snowden, Russia isn't where he belongs. He belongs in Silicon Valley, a consultant to the high-tech world in effective personal privacy. He is a real hero, not a criminal.