Why I hate to distrust Edward Snowden

First of all I would like to say that I support whistleblowing and the work Edward Snowden and Manning has done. I do believe that whistleblowning is one of the most effective methods to expose distrust and to change that.

However, this is not a post to explain what I think about whistleblowning but rather how Edward Snowden is being used in marketing and how people are blindly following him for his words. I do not like how Snowden is being used and the way he currently is working.


What's wrong?


I will show a perfect example of what I mean:

How can Snowden recommend 'anything' by Open Whisper Systems? Does he have anything to back this up with, and if he does where can I read about it? How can I trust Snowden on his words when he only have ... words.

Don't get me wrong, I do believe Snowden knows what he's talking about but the problem is that I shouldn't. I mean, why should I trust just one persons word when there's thousand of other people that are extremely knowledgeable in his area and also can provide the technical information to back up their statements?

Snowden has not yet provided any technical information about anything he has said. This is a huge shame in my eyes because I can't verify that he's telling the truth. I just have to trust him...

The main problem is that due to lack of technical information from Snowden I find him untrustworthy.

Snowden as a market profile


Snowden is huge. There are movies, documentaries, books, videos, voice recordings, news articles and even meetings with Snowden so he is without a doubt very famous. This could lead to a problem because people tend to idolize and follow their role model almost like they are Gods.

I know that Open Whisper Systems are happy to be able to quote Edward Snowden on their website because who wouldn't? People interested in their services will take Snowden's words very seriously and this will increase the chance for more trust in the service. But why? When did actual fact become less credible than words?

Ghostmail is one of the only companies that want to show their neutrality by offering the code audit publicly, this is exactly how it should work!


What should Snowden do?


Snowden has said that he's trying to skip the technical parts because that may get people uninterested in this serious matter, but why can't he do both? He's more or less doing it already by recommending Tor and Open Whisper Systems. We want to see the technical details because we will understand them. The more information Snowden is publishing, the better! He can reach a much wider public if he just try to and make a better impact.

Snowden should publish more technical information about how NSA is spying on it's citizen and we should work with this information provided. Right now we just know that NSA is spying and some abstract of how. All we have is shitty slides;

One thing Snowden could do is talking, publicly of course, with hackers about the technical issues we're facing. Example of questions:

  • What security protections(DEP, [K]ASLR, W^X) actually works and which does not?

  • How big of a spectrum of attack surfaces does NSA have?

  • What should hackers focus on to make better and safer so the people can escape surveillance?


Hopefully Snowden will try to be better at spreading technical and important information instead of being vague.

Snowden can even be a part of code audits or working with the public to make things more privacy friendly and secure.


Contact: chloe@chloe.re - PGP (E163 554F 5262 F85A 8C30 F995 BD3D 9C01 0746 6FC9)