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The National Security Agency's PRISM program remains the hot international topic du jour. Earlier this month, a former NSA contractor leaked information that the agency collects records of telephone calls within the U.S. and monitors the Internet activity of overseas residents. The controversy over whether national security concerns take precedence over online privacy was put on the back burner, however, as the world has become enthralled by U.S. efforts to apprehend the source of the leak: Edward Snowden. Snowden left Hong Kong for Moscow Sunday, June 23, to avoid a U.S. extradition request, and he remains in Sheremetyevo International Airport as he seeks asylum. As he tries to stave off extradition to the U.S., Snowden has been labeled a national hero by some and a traitor by others.
The U.S. has called on countries to turn Snowden away, but President Barack Obama on Thursday downplayed U.S. efforts to apprehend him:
Obama on Snowden: "I'm not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker." http://t.co/wWccMkB5tJ
— CNN (@CNN) June 27, 2013
Obama has not been in negotiations with officials in Russia and other countries that may offer Snowden asylum. Still, via social media, some questioned -- and mocked -- U.S. efforts to apprehend him.
— AmnestyInternational (@amnesty) June 24, 2013
Isn't it quite extraordinary that the full might of America's intelligence agencies can't catch a geeky guy with a laptop? #snowden
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) June 24, 2013
Us Intel is hard at work now trying to blame Us-Equador trade relations on #snowden. This is how the machine operates: thru intimidation.
— Eric (@DarkStarIdeas) June 27, 2013
Suddenly #Snowden is declared a black-hat hacker by Obama... Where did that one come from? Next he'll call him a Terrorist.
— Harrowing Life (@HarrowingLife) June 27, 2013
Well-known online protester groups Anonymous and WikiLeaks, a group reportedly assisting Snowden, kept the spotlight on the U.S. government for what they say are actions that infringe on the rights of U.S. citizens.
— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) June 24, 2013
It is not Edward Snowden who has embarrassed the US administration. It is the US administration's own criminal actions that are embarrassing
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) June 25, 2013
President Obama, do the right thing--stop your war on whistleblowers. Stop your war on the press.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) June 25, 2013
Others are questioning how U.S. actions to extradite Snowden will influence relations with countries all over the world:
stop pretending the Russians will release Snowden for reasons of "goodwill" http://t.co/wIkQ5oY4C8
— Anne Applebaum (@anneapplebaum) June 26, 2013
— Nikolas Kozloff (@NikolasKozloff) June 27, 2013
— Slate (@Slate) June 27, 2013
Russian officials have said they would not arrest Snowden, but have begun questioning how long he will remain at Sheremetyevo. Snowden has sought refuge in Ecuador, but an asylum application process could take months, Ecuadorian officials said.
Some in the Twittersphere compared Snowden's situation to the film The Terminal, where Tom Hanks' plays an immigrant who takes up residence in JFK airport.
#snowden dramaturgy went from a cool jason bourne spy movie to a russian version of the terminal.
— Per Johansson (@pmvjohansson) June 27, 2013
Of all the last decade's movies that turned out to be ahead of their time, I never would have picked "The Terminal" with Tom Hanks. #snowden
— Lionel Laurent (@LLaurentReuters) June 26, 2013
So #Snowden's gone from Catch Me If You Can to The Terminal. Either way, he's in a Tom Hanks movie.
— Ben Woodhams (@benwoodhams) June 26, 2013
The Snowden saga will likely continue as the world debates questions of online privacy vs. security, as well as the rights of people who leak government information.
What do you think of NSA's PRISM program controversy and U.S. efforts to apprehend Edward Snowden? Voice your concerns in the comments. We'd love to hear from you.
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Staff, SearchCompliance.com asks:
What do you think of U.S. efforts to extradite Edward Snowden?
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