The Edward Snowden revelations have sparked a necessary, world-wide conversation about the use of technology in emerging and established governments, and the relationship of that technology to our ability—our right—to live in a world in which our privacy is respected.
Glenn Greenwald, the former Guardian journalist who uncovered the Snowden story, understands the need for citizens' access to information that directly relates to the privacy discussion. In that spirit, he's launched [The Intercept], a web venture backed by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and in collaboration with fellow journalist Jeremy Scahill.
The Intercept launched yesterday with two new stories stemming from the Snowden documents. The first is a series of high-res photographs of NSA complexes around the U.S. which begins with the words "What does a surveillance state look like?". The second discusses the role of electronic surveillance in the United States' "Assassination Program."
The Intercept is the first project to arise from First Look Media (FLM), the umbrella under which Greenwald and Scahill operate, founded earlier this year. The mission of FLM is as ambitious as it is necessary:
We have assembled a team of experienced and independent journalists and editors... Our central mission is to hold the most powerful governmental and corporate factions accountable, and to do so, we will report on a wide and varied range of issues.
In the near future, stories appearing on The Intercept will focus on further revelations from the Snowden documents, centering "overwhelmingly on the NSA story." In the long-term, the focus appears to be more open-ended, but will focus on similar themes, like civil justice abuses and political corruption.
There are mixed feelings about Greenwald's previous work, but few would deny the need for the discussion that it's sparked. The Intercept, if it's successful, could prove to be a valuable voice in that conversation.
Personally, I commend FLM for the effort, especially considering the opposition they face.
Over the past seven months the journalists who have reported on these documents from the National Security Agency have been repeatedly threatened by a wide range of government officials. Sometimes, the intimidation campaign has gone beyond mere threats. These attempted intimidation tactics have intensified in recent weeks and have become clearly more concerted and coordinated.
If an informed citizenry is crucial to a functioning democracy, The Intercept is certainly a step in the right direction.
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