February 13, 2014

Question of the Week: Has Snowden Helped the Perception of Whistleblowers?

snowden2By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

Edward Snowden.  His name and face have been splashed across the front page of virtually every major publication in the world.  He is revered by millions for what they see as his exposing the NSA’s secret and massive spying program and for changing the way the world thinks about personal privacy and individual freedoms.  Just as many revile him for what they see as his interfering with the government’s effort to keep us safe from the growing threat of global terrorism.  His supporters think he had no choice but to go to the press with his classified information.  His detractors think there were other, safer channels he could have used.  He has received numerous accolades and awards and been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.  He is also a fugitive and refugee awaiting charges in the US for espionage and being a traitor to his country.  However you may feel about Edward Snowden, one thing is for sure: he has sparked a worldwide debate on whistleblowers and the proper role they should be playing as watchdog to governments and businesses behaving badly.  Like Snowden, whistleblowers are sometimes celebrated as heroes and just as often it seems, castigated as villains.

So what do you think: has Snowden helped the perception of whistleblowers?

Has Snowden Helped the Perception of Whistleblowers?

Please let us know why in the comment section below.  


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4 Responses to “Question of the Week: Has Snowden Helped the Perception of Whistleblowers?

  1. Snowden has informed the American people of secret actions and policies of our government which are important for everyone to know. Without him, these policies would continue in the dark.

  2. I don’t have a binary hero/devil view of Snowden and I think it will be easier to assess the impact of his leaks a few years from now. However, I think he has had, on the balance, a positive impact on the perception of whistleblowers, as he has been cast as a Paul Revere on the issue of domestic spying. While the substance of the leaks throw some glory on whistleblowing generally, the lawless means Snowden used to make the leaks has probably had a negative impact on the perception of whistleblowers by associating them with vigilantism.

  3. Snowden has hurt the reputation of whistleblowers through what I believe to be his irresponsible sharing of information to the press. Whistleblowers should absolutely speak up, but the forum matters. Instead of bringing this to the press and inviting panic and chaos and damaging our foreign relations, he should have exhausted any other more responsible channels first. I am glad that he spoke up, but he has hurt the reputation of whistleblowers by making whistleblowers appear to be careless and hasty and that is good for no one.

  4. There is no question that Snowden has alienated many people for what they see as reckless and indiscriminate behavior. But I think a much larger group of people have been inspired by his actions and the risk he took to expose government conduct subsequently found to be a Constitutional overreach. In my mind, he has helped the world recognize what it really means to be a whistleblower and the incredibly important role they serve.