In 2013, former intelligence officer Edward Snowden became confined to a life in hiding after revealing that the NSA was seizing the private records of billions of law abiding citizens. Yet, he remains relentless in his efforts to inform the public about the reality of online privacy and surveillance. He is now the subject of Snowden, a forthcoming biographical political thriller being produced and directed by Academy Award-winner Oliver Stone.
Edward Snowden is an American intelligence contractor who in 2013 revealed the existence of secret wide-ranging information-gathering programs conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA). Despite a relative lack of formal education and training, Snowden demonstrated an aptitude with computers, and he was hired by the Central Intelligence Agency in 2006. He was given a top secret clearance and in 2007 was posted to Geneva, where he worked as a network security technician under a diplomatic cover. Snowden left the CIA for the NSA in 2009; there he worked as a private contractor for the companies Dell and Booz Allen Hamilton. During this time, he began gathering information on a number of NSA activities—most notably, secret surveillance programs that he believed were overly broad in size and scope.
In May 2013 Snowden requested a medical leave of absence and flew to Hong Kong, where during the following month he conducted a series of interviews with journalists from the newspaper The Guardian. Among the NSA secrets leaked by Snowden was a court order that compelled telecommunications company Verizon to turn over metadata (such as numbers dialed and duration of calls) for millions of its subscribers. Snowden also disclosed the existence of PRISM, a data-mining program that reportedly gave the NSA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Government Communications Headquarters—Britain’s NSA equivalent—“direct access” to the servers of such Internet giants as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple.
Snowden is the subject of two major films - Citizenfour, a documentary which won the Academy 2015 Award for Best Documentary Feature and the upcoming film, Snowden a biographical political thriller based on the book, The Snowden Files by Luke Harding and Time of the Octopus by Anatoly Kucherena. Snowden is being produced and directed by Academy Award-winner Oliver Stone and will be released in 2016.