I have nothing but praise for Glenn Greenwald’s book No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State.

I have nothing but praise for Glenn Greenwald’s book No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State. I was inspired to read it after watching Laura Poitras’s unsettling documentary about the Snowden leaks, Citizenfour, in which Greenwald features prominently. Given the amount of media attention the subject has attracted you might be forgiven for thinking there is nothing more to learn. There is. What has not been fully explored in the media is the vast scale of the surveillance program conducted by the NSA and its partners in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance. The primary purpose of the surveillance is summed up best by former NSA chief Keith B. Alexander’s phrase, “collect it all.” One the quantity of data collected Greenwald writes:

The quantity of telephone calls, emails, online chats, online activites, and telephonic metadata collected by the agency is staggering. Indeed, the NSA frequently, as one 2012 document put it, “collects far more content than is routinely useful to analysts.” As of mid-2012, the agency was processing more than twenty billion communication events (both Internet and telephone) from around the world each day. [Greenwald’s italics]

While the amount of data collected is vast, what is astounding is that this vast depository of data has been of little use in the prevention of terrorism. Greenwald, cites an article from the Washington Post, from December 2013, on the NSA’s phone metadata collection. According to a federal judge, “the Justice Department failed to cite a single case in which analysis of the NSA’s bulk data collection actually stopped an imminent terrorist attack.”

One thought on “I have nothing but praise for Glenn Greenwald’s book No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State.

  1. Thanks for the thoughts. Snowden, Greenwald and Poitras are doing amazing, priceless work.

    I finally realized that I can make an account here and follow along – I’m looking forward to more reading.

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