By JEN RETTER ’16
In June, The Guardian and The Washington Post published proof of top-secret surveillance programs operated by the National Security Agency (NSA), the largest intelligence agency in the United States. The leaks focused primarily on PRISM, a massive electronic surveillance program made possible by the Protect America Act of 2007.
“PRISM is a program that allows the NSA to, without an explicit warrant, request communications information from multiple commercial communications providers,” said Dr. Michael Dwyer, assistant professor of Media and Communications. The companies involved include giants such as Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Apple.
The information about PRISM and the NSA’s surveillance activities came from Edward Snowden, a former NSA technical contractor, who previously worked for the CIA. In an interview with Glenn Greenwald, columnist and blogger for The Guardian, Snowden defended his decision to leak the classified documents, positioning himself as a whistleblower. “The public needs to decide whether these programs and policies are right or wrong,” he asserted.
In response to the NSA leaks, Dwyer and Dr. John Noakes, associate provost for faculty advancement and student learning, whose scholarly work focuses on the relationship between the state and political dissent, sat down to discuss the significance of the revelations, public reaction, the media, and national security, as part of Arcadia’s Faculty Experts series.