Whistle-blower Behind the NSA Surveillance Revelations

Edward Snowden: The Whistle-blower Behind the NSA Surveillance Revelations

Executive summary

In this report, the case study of Edward Snowden has been discussed. Reasons for the revelation of classified information of national security agency secret program has been detailed. Various stakeholders' views are also detailed in this report. The ACS Code of Ethics is also mentioned. Reasons for disclosing the secret information by Edward Snowden has highlighted in this report. What are the consequences and effect of revealing of classified information by Edward Snowden to general public and press is also listed? At the end of this report, the proper conclusion is also provided.


Edward Snowden is an employee who is working at the National Security Agency NSA. For his unethical action, he found responsible for his act of leaking of confidential, classified information in the US. History. In June 2013, Snowden confessed that he had passed classified documents to reporters in the US revealing details about NSA surveillance programs that collect and perform data mining on hundreds of US phone and internet traffic records mainly to know possible links to track terrorists, but according to Snowden this act of NSA is violating the civil right. After this, he passed the country in a way to avoid federal charges (Greenwald et al., 2013). As he has done unethical conduct so some public are demanding legal charges on him, as he betrays the organization and general public as a whole but through further research it was also found that some people are supporting him as they feel that tracking personal information without any cause or evidence is not fair and it is violating civil rights and the constitution, so this should not be practice by NSA (Lyon et al., 2014).

What’s going on?

Here in this case, Edward Snowden who is working in NSA has found guilty and responsible for his unethical conduct as he confesses that he passed some classified relevant information to the reporters in the US revealing that NSA is running programs which track all the internet traffic and phone in regards to knowing about terrorists, but he says that this act and programs of NSA are against the civil rights and constitution.
Multiple perspectives
According, to the person raising a complaint, as people who are raising complaint feel that Snowden has done unethical act and with his act many terrorist may now become more concern about their safety and it becomes somewhat difficult for the organization to track them.
According, to other they support Edward Snowden they say that he is a real Hero and not traitor. As he revealed the classified information of NSA programs which is against the civil rights and violating the constitution and human privacy rights.

What are the facts?

Snowden had his First Direct Exchange with (press) Post reporter Barton Gellman on May 16, 2013. During his direct exchange with Barton, he advised him not to publish his revelation to the general public before he lives the country to Hong Kong. Snowden left for Hong Kong on May 20, 2013. On May 24, 2013, Snowden request Barton to publish the information about PRISM, A surveillance Program that use to gather and obtain information from a social site like Facebook, Microsoft and other (Gentleman et al ., 2013)S. Further on June 6, 2013, the post discloses that existence of PRISM, a program which allows the NSA to extract and obtain details of Customer activities which includes audio and video both as well as photographs, emails, documents, etc. From computers at Microsoft, and other internet companies. 
On June 2013 The Guardian and Washington Post disclosed that Edward as their source for the intelligence related leaks. On June 2013 Federal prosecutor break a complaint filed in US District Court in Virginal on 14 June 2013, charging Snowden with spying and theft of government property. On 22 June 2013 senior administrative officials say US has contacted authorities in Hong Kong to hand over Snowden. On June 30, 2013, US government revoked Snowden's passport. On December 17, 2014, he posted an open letter to Brazil, offering to help investigate US surveillance of Brazilian citizens. On July 28, 2015, The White House rejected a petition to pardon and maintains its position that Snowden should return to the US. Although petition contains over 167000, signatures supporting Snowden. Finally, on January 17, 2017, Russia extends Snowden's asylum until 2020, and granted nationality also later. 

What are the issues?

The issue involved in this case is Edward Snowden has revealed or leaked the highly confidential and classified information to the press in the US. Other issues are some people are supporting Snowden that he has done nothing wrong, but he did in favor to protect civil rights and individual privacy. While other people argue that has done unethical act and he should be charged for that they believe that he is a traitor, not a hero.
  • Issues of revealing the classified information. Highly confidential information has been revealed. 
  • Issues of public privacy. As every calls and text have been in the catch and record with NSA.
  • Issues of nation’s status and fame. Another country may put the question on US security system, which may hamper the fame and status of US.

Who is affected?

All the interest holder are affected by the act of Edward Snowden. 
List of all stakeholder who is affected by the action of Snowden of revealing classified information to the US press is as follows.
  • NSA organization affected a lot by the act of Snowden. As most of the classified information has been revealed by Snowden which depict that NSA is using PRISM which captures and record all the chats and audio of general public, so a question regarding civil rights is raised against NSA. So it will hamper the Goodwill of National Security agency of the country (Stake et al., 2013).
  • US Government will also deeply affected by the act of Snowden US Government is now not able to cover this by just jailing or murdering him as it will lose the status in regards of security and civil rights policy.
  • The general public as their privacy is hampered. So they are also affected much, and now they feel unsafe in sharing their information on social site.
  • Telecom companies like Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, and Google, also get affected much by the Snowden act as people will lose trust in regards of security and privacy from Telecom Companies (Lucas et al., 2014). In this way, people will resist to use it. Finally, Telecom Companies will lose their trustworthiness and Goodwill.

What are the ethical issues and implications?

The ethical issues and implication are here National Security Agency is extracting the personal and private information of general public with any notice and warrant or without any evidence, proof which is unethical in practice and against the civil right and constitution (Landau et al., 2013). And its implication or consequences is that general public will lose faith and trust from the country’s National Security Agency as their personal information be extracted from the various medium without any notice or evidence in proof to do.
The main ethical issues are whether US intelligence professionals regard the US Constitution as supreme law in America or non-disclosure contracts with individual agencies or the US government (Burmeister et al., 2000). Unethically telecom companies are providing the private information to the agency which is against the civil right and constitution. It has an adverse consequence on the Goodwill of the companies.
Utilitarianism Theory. 
Something is right if the total benefits outweigh the total costs. Especially focusing on consequences of the action.
Edward Snowden Utilitarianism theory
  • Loss of revenue to US companies
  • New research and investment in secure emails, chats, cell phones, network protocols.
Implication -Google, Facebook Microsoft lost business due to suspected involvement.

What can be done about it?

Although NSA National Security Agency uses to gather private information of general public unethically but this practice is done by NSA in a way to secure the nation from major threats of war and terrorists attack. Extracting of personal information unethically is against the civil right, but here NSA is doing it for the sake of national security. So this classified information has been revealed by Snowden to the general public which hampers the NSA dignity and security of nation so for that Snowden should be jailed and charged for his actions.
So this issues can be resolved by putting Edward Snowden into imprisonment and charging a penalty because he had hamper and affected the dignity and security of NSA and Nation as a whole.
Alternatives to resolve the case.
  1. Put him in imprisonment.
  2. Charged penalty.
  3. Charge penalty on him and bring him back to the US and ensure to strengthen the security as he is expert in computer and Technology so he should be placed on the same position but to strengthen the security.

What are the options?

There are various possible options which can resolve the case in best manner although all the options may not positively impact the stakeholder but can be used to resolve the situation in the best manner. United States have many viable options in a way to resolve and address the issues and case in best possible manner or way. But it need not that all the available option or alternatives to resolve the case is in favor of all the stakeholders. But the main thing here for the US is to resolve the case and secure the National Security of the Nation. As national security is the prime motto and maintains peace and harmony in the nation is very much needed. Here for the sake of National harmony and security, only National Security Agency is extracting the private information of the general public in a way to track the terrorists and avoid any attack and terrorism from the Nation.
List of possible options is as follows.
  1. Charge Edward Snowden heavy penalty for disgracing and harming the dignity of NSA and hampering the National Security of the Nation.
  2. Put Edward Snowden into imprisonment as his act hamper the NSA dignity, fame and put the question of National Security Agency Trustworthiness.
  3. Call back the Edward Snowden and put him in the same position as a way to strengthen the security system NSA, as he is very much competent in computer and technology. US Government can use Edward Snowden as a good resource for strengthening the security system in National Security Agency.

Which option is the best- and why?

The best option is calling him back with charging a penalty on him and putting him back in the same position in the organization in a way to strengthen the security system of the National Security Agency. This option is best because it will lead the national security at a high pace. And the dignity which NSA and USA government has lost due to his act of revealing the classified information to the public will also be managed up to some extent.
As Edward Snowden should not be put into imprisonment because the US will not be able to take advantage of his capabilities. As he is very much skillful in computer and technology so he can put back to the same position in the organization to ensure the security. He can be put to back its position to strengthen the security system.
ACS Code of Ethics.
  1. The primacy of the public interest. According to this Ethic, one should put the public interest at first then his interest so here Edward Snowden did the same he revealed the classified information of NSA programs. As this NSA program was against the civil rights and fundamental rights of people.
  2. The Enhancement of the Quality of life (Bowern et al., 2006). According, to this Ethic one, should strive to enhance the quality of life of those who are affected by your work. So here Snowden did the same he put himself in danger and revealed the information in a way to improve the quality of life of an affected person by his action or work. As he raised the concern about individual privacy.
  3. Honesty, this implies that you should be honest in your work skills, knowledge, and organization, but here Edward Snowden found dishonest to his organization as he was working for National Security Agency, but he revealed the classified information of the Organization secret Programs. Here he found dishonest towards his organization but honest towards the general public.
  4. Competence, this implies that you should work competently and diligently for your interest holder or stakeholder here, Edward Snowden Found both competences as well as non-competence, some say that he revealed the information for the sake for public interest and to favor the civil right whereas others argue that his act was not good because he hamper the security concern of the Nation and also hamper the dignity of NSA.
  5. Professional development implies that you should develop yourself as well as you are responsible for developing your colleagues and staff. Here Snowden is not able to develop the professional quality in his colleague and staff.
  6. Professionalism, it implies that you need to enhance the integrity of the society and the respect of its members for each other. Here Edward Snowden found to fail in this regard. 


After analyzing and observing the case at last it can be conclude that, here in this case Edward Snowden who is working for National Security Agency in United States has revealed some of the classified information about National Security Agency secret program which is against the civil right and constitution as National Security Agency is extracting the private information like chats, calls, emails, photographs and many more in a way to track the terrorists. But according to Edward Snowden, this act of NSA is against the civil rights and constitution as it is raising the question of concern about privacy of the individual. So some are favoring him while others are opposing him and demanding to take legal action against him as he has hampered the national security and dignity of the organization.


Greenwald, G., MacAskill, E., and Poitras, L., 2013. Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations. The Guardian, 9(6), p.2.
Lyon, D., 2014. Surveillance, Snowden, and big data: Capacities, consequences, critique. Big Data & Society, 1(2), p.2053951714541861.
Gellman, B., 2013. Edward Snowden, after months of NSA revelations, says his mission’s accomplished. The Washington Post, 23.
Stake, R.E., 2013. Multiple case study analysis. Guilford Press.
Landau, S., 2013. Making sense from Snowden: What's significant in the NSA surveillance revelations? IEEE Security & Privacy, 11(4), pp.54-63.
Lucas, G.R., 2014. NSA management directive# 424: Secrecy and privacy in the aftermath of Edward Snowden. Ethics & International Affairs, 28(1), pp.29-38.
Burmeister, O.K., 2000. Applying the ACS code of ethics. Journal of Research and Practice in Information Technology, 32(2), pp.107-120.
Bowern, M., Burmeister, O., Gotterbarn, D., and Weckert, J., 2006. ICT Integrity: Bringing the ACS Code of Ethics up to date. Australasian Journal of Information Systems, 13(2).

Place Order For A Top Grade Assignment Now

We have some amazing discount offers running for the students

Place Your Order

Get Quality Assignment Without Paying Upfront

Hire World's #1 Assignment Help Company

Place Your Order