The Snowden Effect, that mix of consciousness raising and potential legal reform of government surveillance, has another side to it: the impact of Snowden’s revelations on those revealed.
The Guardian secured heavily redacted parts of a Pentagon report on the matter, two elements of which are worth reviewing. The report does not detail the impact of what Snowden revealed in relation to “SIGINT,” a term meaning “signals intelligence.” The NSA, the report notes, is reviewing that “separately.”
Here are the two key sections that are both left un-redacted and say something worth reading:
Only 12 of the 39 pages were released under The Guardian’s Freedom of Information Act request.
The House this morning passed a nearly neutered bill called the USA FREEDOM Act. The bill initially garnered support from Congress members and private companies alike. However, as it was later raced to passage, around half of its co-sponsors voted against it; privacy groups joined technology firms in dropping their support because of last-minute changes that could still allow for bulk collection of data — precisely what the bill was written to prevent.
So while we continue to work toward firmer reform, it’s worth keeping in mind that to some, all victories of that sort will always be pyrrhic.