Edward Snowden – surveillance and privacy in a digital age

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden: Leaks that exposed US spy programme from BBC News 17 January 2015

For students


The Geeks Who Leak  from TIME magazine and  Snowden and the NSA from Bill of Right Institute

Find out about:

NSA, Congress, the Constitution of the USA, wikileaks, online privacy, whitleblowers, prevention of terrorism.

Note! Always check your sources and research organisations/writers.


Note that the questions below (fetched from Snowden and the NSA ) are from an American point of view.

  1. How should Congress exercise its oversight of intelligence agencies?
  2. Do foreign citizens have an expectation of privacy? In the U.S.? In their own countries? If so, should this change U.S. government intelligence operations?
  3. General warrants, or ‘writs of assistance’, were warrants issued by King George III to authorize general searches of colonists. Agents of the King could search a suspect or a suspect’s home and documents at will. These types of investigations were one of the major complaints of the Founding Fathers. What are the parallels with bulk collection of data? What are the differences?
  4. There have been reports that the NSA weakened U.S. Internet companies’ security (i.e. made the computer security easier to break) to facilitate data gathering. What constitutional issues might this raise?

More to read and discuss:

Read NSA Surveillance & the Politics of Whistleblowing:

  1. Defenders of NSA surveillance contend that the program is necessary to prevent terrorism. What do you think of their argument?
  2. What are some of the reasons that civil libertarians give for why the NSA’s activities are damaging to American democracy?
  3. What safeguards do you think should be in place to keep the government from intruding on the privacy of its citizens? In your view, do the NSA’s activities meet these safeguards or violate them?
  4. In the age of the internet, many Americans have grown accustomed to sharing personal information on websites and to having data about their online activity tracked by private companies. How do changing standards of privacy in the internet age affect the debate about government surveillance? Can you think of reasons why we should be particularly concerned about government surveillance?

Questions from NSA Surveillance & the Politics of Whistleblowing, Morningside Center )

For teachers

Online privacy and Prism – news and teaching resources round up from The Guardian

Breaking News English ESL Lesson Plan on Edward Snowden

NSA Surveillance & the Politics of Whistleblowing  from Morningside Center

This post is a collection of digital material which can be used for learning and teaching.


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