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No Question: Snowden Was 2013's Most Influential Tech Figure 108

Posted by timothy
from the you-said-it dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Lots of CEOs, entrepreneurs, and developers made headlines in 2013—but in hindsight, Edward Snowden will likely stand as this year's most influential figure in technology. In June, Snowden began feeding top-secret documents detailing the National Security Agency's surveillance programs to The Guardian and other newspapers. Much of that information, downloaded by Snowden while he served as a system administrator at an NSA outpost in Hawaii, suggested that the U.S. government swept up massive amounts of information on ordinary Americans as part of its broader operations. Whatever one's feelings on the debate over privacy and security, it's undeniable that Snowden's documents have increased general awareness of online vulnerability; but whether that's sparked an increased use of countermeasures—including encryption tools—is another matter entirely. On the developer side of things, when you consider the sheer amount of money, time, and code that'll be invested over the next few years in encryption and encryption-breaking, it's clear that Snowden's influence will be felt for quite some time to come—even if the man himself is trapped in Russian exile."
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No Question: Snowden Was 2013's Most Influential Tech Figure

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  • I Think I Was ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @01:37PM (#45830559)

    I think it was the guy mentioned in this article [slashdot.org].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @01:40PM (#45830599)

    I think it was the guy mentioned in this article [slashdot.org].

    I think it was the guy mentioned in this article [slashdot.org].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @01:45PM (#45830635)

    ...that the federal government has. And it's not the muslim jihadists they're worried about. It's us.

  • by x_IamSpartacus_x (1232932) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @01:47PM (#45830659)
    Why the hell is this here? There have already been like 50 other stories about how important Snowden was/is and now /. feels it's important to post a ridiculously redundant [slashdot.org] story of their own that is JUST A BUNCH OF OTHER LINKS to other news sites? WTF /.?

    Seriously...

    wtf???
  • by deconfliction (3458895) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @02:15PM (#45830923)

    Yes, it is getting ridiculous. All of this info has been suspected, and the paranoids were already taking steps to protect themselves. Most average people don't care and have much bigger issues to deal with that really will affect their lives.

    Thing is, "most average people" aren't the ones who shape human society for the next generation. Edward Snowden did that.

    It isn't like he invented something cool, advanced society through developing new technologies, or accomplished anything. He went in with an agenda and was able to hack the system from the inside, now he has some power and fame.

    I like to also think his Agenda was to "invent" a cool new world, where instead of NSA spook-community running completely rampant and rough-shod toward a dystopian neo-Stasi future, we now get to know and mitigate the threat to the 4th ammendment that they represent. That's is a freaking cool invention if you ask me. I'll take it over the crap that "most average people" like yourself churn out.

  • Re:So sad .... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nyder (754090) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @02:27PM (#45831035) Journal

    So sad that a criminal is listed as an influential person. Especially one so cowardly and spineless as to flee instead of actually staying and working towards what he believed in. I hope he lives to a ripe old age and has to spend his life constantly hiding in the shadows in fear. In countries with worse personal liberties and freedoms than the one he fled from.

    I'm sorry you feel this way. Very few people here feel that way, in fact, the only people here that feel that way you do usually work for the NSA.

  • by sribe (304414) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @02:34PM (#45831119)

    Most influential maybe in terms of politics, but technology? What was the technology he pioneered or employed?

    Nothing. But his actions will have a huge influence on the future development and use of technology, thus it is reasonable to call him influential ;-)

  • Re:So sad .... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jeff13 (255285) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @02:51PM (#45831271) Homepage

    Well, you say 'the only people who feel this way usually work for the NSA'? I disagree.

    Everyone at the NSA is aware of their "First Commandment"; “Thou Shalt Not Eavesdrop on Americans Without a Court Warrant.” Something that went out the window during the Bush Administration under Gen. Hayden (former NSA directors have stated publically he broke the (FISA) law. One even flat out said he should have been court-marshialed). Snowden isn't the first to blow the whistle over at the NSA in the last few years, Thomas Drake being one I can think of off the top of my head and he was a senior official at the NSA! So I think the people at the NSA rtake their jobs seriously, their directors not so much. I'd lay blame where it's due I think.

    Oh and what happened to Thomas Drake? Jailed! as were others (there were, what, like, 5 people from the NSA who have spoken out since around 2006? That's a lot!) I have to ask myself, if I were Snowden and watched senior officials being jailed for revealing the NSA is spying on everyone, would I skip town? You bet yer fat arse I would! I'd skip town, get all the docs to the newspapers, and make those rat bastards answer to the People!

  • by deconfliction (3458895) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @03:47PM (#45831765)

    I know I shouldn't feed trolls, but...

    "You want to call him the most influential person in politics, fine... but tech? I think we can do better."

    Are you KIDDING me? He may not personally design the devices and write the code that we are using for the next 10 years, but *you can sure bet* that he seriously impacted those designs and that code by revealing the proof and scope, if not the existence of the insecurities that were rampant in the prior devices and code.

    We will be buying fundamentally more secure devices with fundamentally more secure programming in the coming years, due *primarily* to Snowden's revelations. Dinging him for being more like the tech-CEO who merely gets to decide the direction of development instead of writing the actual code seems just plain silly. Compared to the influence all the other tech-CEOs had in 2013 on the future of computing technology, I'd say Snowden wins hands down. No question. It's a different tech _landscape_ today because of him. What other tech person had a greater change on the nature of the technology we will use in the coming decade?

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