Edward Snowden: Asking is cheaper than spying

Gigaom

Just in time for Christmas: Edward Snowden, the former NSA hand who dominated much of the year’s headlines with his disclosures of data gathering practices of the intelligence agency,  undertook a media blitz that included an interview with The Washington Post’s Barton Gellman and a brief appearance on the UK’s Channel 4.

It’s hard to overestimate the impact Snowden’s actions have had starting in June when his disclosures were made public. They put U.S. security data gathering practices under the microscope and dragged U.S. tech companies including Microsoft(s msft), Google(s goog), Verizon(s vz)  onto the hot seat as it became clear that the NSA was getting much of its information from them — wittingly or not. Disclosures that spying may have extended to foreign leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, were a huge embarrassment to the Obama administration.

To underscore all that, on December 16, U.S. District Court Judge Richard…

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