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No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State

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By Glenn Greenwald, star of Citizenfour, the Academy Award-winning documentary on Edward Snowden In May 2013, Glenn Greenwald set out for Hong Kong to meet an anonymous source who claimed to have astonishing evidence of pervasive government spying and insisted on communicating only through heavily encrypted channels. That source turned out to be the twenty-nine-year-old NSA By Glenn Greenwald, star of Citizenfour, the Academy Award-winning documentary on Edward Snowden In May 2013, Glenn Greenwald set out for Hong Kong to meet an anonymous source who claimed to have astonishing evidence of pervasive government spying and insisted on communicating only through heavily encrypted channels. That source turned out to be the twenty-nine-year-old NSA contractor Edward Snowden, and his revelations about the agency's widespread, systemic overreach proved to be some of the most explosive and consequential news in recent history, triggering a fierce debate over national security and information privacy. Now Greenwald fits all the pieces together, recounting his high-intensity eleven-day trip to Hong Kong, examining the broader implications of the surveillance detailed in his reporting for The Guardian, and revealing fresh information on the NSA's unprecedented abuse of power with documents from the Snowden archive. Fearless and incisive, No Place to Hide has already sparked outrage around the globe and been hailed by voices across the political spectrum as an essential contribution to our understanding of the U.S. surveillance state.


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By Glenn Greenwald, star of Citizenfour, the Academy Award-winning documentary on Edward Snowden In May 2013, Glenn Greenwald set out for Hong Kong to meet an anonymous source who claimed to have astonishing evidence of pervasive government spying and insisted on communicating only through heavily encrypted channels. That source turned out to be the twenty-nine-year-old NSA By Glenn Greenwald, star of Citizenfour, the Academy Award-winning documentary on Edward Snowden In May 2013, Glenn Greenwald set out for Hong Kong to meet an anonymous source who claimed to have astonishing evidence of pervasive government spying and insisted on communicating only through heavily encrypted channels. That source turned out to be the twenty-nine-year-old NSA contractor Edward Snowden, and his revelations about the agency's widespread, systemic overreach proved to be some of the most explosive and consequential news in recent history, triggering a fierce debate over national security and information privacy. Now Greenwald fits all the pieces together, recounting his high-intensity eleven-day trip to Hong Kong, examining the broader implications of the surveillance detailed in his reporting for The Guardian, and revealing fresh information on the NSA's unprecedented abuse of power with documents from the Snowden archive. Fearless and incisive, No Place to Hide has already sparked outrage around the globe and been hailed by voices across the political spectrum as an essential contribution to our understanding of the U.S. surveillance state.

30 review for No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State

  1. 4 out of 5

    Raul

    I wouldn't call it a masterpiece of literature (even non-fiction literature), but I'm giving it 5 stars in lieu of what it truly deserves—five big, heavy pairs of golden balls, because that's what it's all about: BALLS. The lessons of courage and integrity contained within these pages, as exemplified by Snowden, Greenwald, and all the journalists, editors and publishers who supported their efforts in shining a light into the darkest corners of the most powerful government in the world, make it m I wouldn't call it a masterpiece of literature (even non-fiction literature), but I'm giving it 5 stars in lieu of what it truly deserves—five big, heavy pairs of golden balls, because that's what it's all about: BALLS. The lessons of courage and integrity contained within these pages, as exemplified by Snowden, Greenwald, and all the journalists, editors and publishers who supported their efforts in shining a light into the darkest corners of the most powerful government in the world, make it more than a worthwhile read. It is, indeed, a true inspiration and an exemplary model for anyone who has ever had to face the dilemma of choosing between either standing up against corruption and exposing wrongdoing and abuses of power at great personal risk, or subserviently cowering in fear and submitting to the authority of those who threaten to silence them at any cost and make them suffer the consequences for speaking up.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    Recently I've gone down an Edward Snowden rabbit hole. I've now read two books on him, watched the documentary "Citizenfour," followed him on Twitter, and looked up several other interviews. It's fair to say I'm concerned about the invasive surveillance tactics of the National Security Agency. Snowden, who was a systems administrator, became a whistleblower on the NSA back in 2013, downloading classified documents and releasing them to journalists. Snowden fled the country, going first to Hong K Recently I've gone down an Edward Snowden rabbit hole. I've now read two books on him, watched the documentary "Citizenfour," followed him on Twitter, and looked up several other interviews. It's fair to say I'm concerned about the invasive surveillance tactics of the National Security Agency. Snowden, who was a systems administrator, became a whistleblower on the NSA back in 2013, downloading classified documents and releasing them to journalists. Snowden fled the country, going first to Hong Kong, but then later got stuck in the Moscow airport when the U.S. canceled his passport. After a month in the terminal, Russia granted him asylum. (As you may know, there are a limited number of countries that don't have extradition treaties with the U.S., so Snowden had to pick one of those if he wanted to avoid spending his life in an American prison. Charged under the 1917 Espionage Act, Snowden and his lawyers don't believe he could get a fair trial in the States.) So we've established this is a controversial subject and also a fascinating one, hence my burrowing deeper. I sought out Glenn Greenwald's book because he is one of the reporters Snowden originally contacted, and he's featured in the "Citizenfour" film. No Place to Hide is Greenwald's account of the events, including his interactions with Snowden and the media storm that followed the release of the documents. After finishing this book, which goes more in-depth into the NSA surveillance programs and details their tactics at downloading phone calls, emails, and other online communications from citizens around the world, I paused to appreciate the title's meaning -- it's not just Snowden the Whistleblower who has trouble hiding, but all of us. In this era of social media and near-constant connection to the Internet and our phones, our private lives are no longer private. The book has some shocking stories of invasions of privacy and how certain U.S. citizens have been targeted by the NSA, CIA or FBI. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in this subject. Good Quotes "I want to spark a worldwide debate about privacy, Internet freedom, and the dangers of state surveillance ... I'm not afraid of what will happen to me. I've accepted that my life will likely be over from my doing this. I'm at peace with that. I know it's the right thing to do." - Snowden, in an early email "I realized that they were building a system whose goal was the elimination of all privacy, globally. To make it so that no one could communicate electronically without the NSA being able to collect, store, and analyze the communication." Snowden, during in an interview in Hong Kong "What I wanted more than anything was for the world to see Snowden's fearlessness. The US government had worked very hard over the past decade to demonstrate unlimited power. It had started wars, tortured and imprisoned people without charges, drone-bombed targets in extrajudicial killings. And the messengers were not immune: whistle-blowers had been abused and prosecuted, journalists had been threatened with jail. Through a carefully cultivated display of intimidation to anyone who contemplated a meaningful challenge, the government had striven to show people around the world that its power was constrained by neither law nor ethics, neither morality nor the Constitution: look what we can do and will do to those who impede our agenda. Snowden had defied the intimidation as directly as possible. Courage is contagious. I knew that he could rouse so many people to do the same." - Greenwald "The true measure of a society's freedom is how it treats its dissidents and other marginalized groups, not how it treats good loyalists." - Greenwald "The danger posed by the state operating a massive secret surveillance system is far more ominous now than at any point in history. While the government, via surveillance, knows more and more about what its citizens are doing, its citizens know less and less about what their government is doing, shielded as it is by a wall of secrecy." - Greenwald More Goodies If you'd like to go down your own Snowden rabbit hole, I recommend looking up Snowden on Twitter (@Snowden) and watching these online videos: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver: Government Surveillance Vice: 'State of Surveillance' with Edward Snowden and Shane Smith

  3. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    Perhaps the most frightening book I have ever read. I'm not even kidding. I especially appreciated his argument against the idea "only bad people need fear the NSA," because one, "bad" people have civil rights, too, and two, "bad" is defined as anyone who disagrees with the powers that be. Everyone's rights must be protected or no one is free.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Markus

    An important book. That's first thing that comes to my mind if i have to say something about it. First big chunk of it reads like a great spy novel as Greenwald shows how he came to contact with Snowden and then how to publish the information/revelations. It's a truly gripping stuff, if you add a score from some 70s conspiracy flick, the paranoia level goes up the 11; and it's all true. The second part deals with the revelations, if you have read the Greenwald's Guardian articles there's not much An important book. That's first thing that comes to my mind if i have to say something about it. First big chunk of it reads like a great spy novel as Greenwald shows how he came to contact with Snowden and then how to publish the information/revelations. It's a truly gripping stuff, if you add a score from some 70s conspiracy flick, the paranoia level goes up the 11; and it's all true. The second part deals with the revelations, if you have read the Greenwald's Guardian articles there's not much new stuff, but it goes a way deeper in analysis. The third part deals with a nature of secrecy itself, it's an interesting and sharp analysis, but after all the whistleblowing, it's a just good part, and that's on itself is telling something about the quality of this book. The Final part is about the fourth estate, and we are back in the gripping stuff. Greenwald goes through the what is wrong with the today's mainstream (corporate) media and personal things he got caught up with. As i said, this is the most important book of the year (so far), a must-read for everyone who wants know where things stand with the privacy in the Internet era. Highly recommended. A good compendium of Glen Greenwald's interviews: http://www.mediaroots.org/glenn-green...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tom LA

    I shouldn't be shocked that 99% of the reviewers writing here hail Snowden as a hero. As someone who had the guts to do what had to be done. After all, if you don’t share the same admiration for Snowden and don't approve what he did, you are not very likely to read this book. But I am still shocked nonetheless at the number of people who support this kid's behaviour. I think civil liberties are enormously important, but I believe Snowden is, in the words of "The New Yorker", a grandiose narcissis I shouldn't be shocked that 99% of the reviewers writing here hail Snowden as a hero. As someone who had the guts to do what had to be done. After all, if you don’t share the same admiration for Snowden and don't approve what he did, you are not very likely to read this book. But I am still shocked nonetheless at the number of people who support this kid's behaviour. I think civil liberties are enormously important, but I believe Snowden is, in the words of "The New Yorker", a grandiose narcissist who deserves to be in prison. [Some of the New Yorker's article content follows, because I find myself in agreement with it] Snowden provided information to the Washington Post and the Guardian, which also posted a video interview with him. In it, he describes himself as appalled by the government he served: "The N.S.A. has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your e-mails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your e-mails, passwords, phone records, credit cards. I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things… I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under." What, one wonders, did Snowden think the N.S.A. did? Any marginally attentive citizen, much less N.S.A. employee or contractor, knows that the entire mission of the agency is to intercept electronic communications. Perhaps he thought that the N.S.A. operated only outside the United States; in that case, he hadn’t been paying very close attention. In any event, Snowden decided that he does not “want to live in a society” that intercepts private communications. His latter-day conversion is dubious. And what of his decision to leak the documents? Doing so was, as he more or less acknowledges, a crime. Any government employee or contractor is warned repeatedly that the unauthorized disclosure of classified information is a crime. But Snowden, apparently, was answering to a higher calling. “When you see everything you realize that some of these things are abusive,” he said. “The awareness of wrongdoing builds up. There was not one morning when I woke up. It was a natural process.” These were legally authorized programs; in the case of Verizon Business’s phone records, Snowden certainly knew this, because he leaked the very court order that approved the continuation of the project. So he wasn’t blowing the whistle on anything illegal; he was exposing something that failed to meet his own standards of propriety. The question, of course, is whether the government can function when all of its employees (and contractors) can take it upon themselves to sabotage the programs they don’t like. That’s what Snowden has done. What makes leak cases difficult is that some leaking—some interaction between reporters and sources who have access to classified information—is normal, even indispensable, in a society with a free press. It’s not easy to draw the line between those kinds of healthy encounters and the wholesale, reckless dumping of classified information by the likes of Snowden or Bradley Manning. Indeed, Snowden was so irresponsible in what he gave the Guardian and the Post that even these institutions thought some of it should not be disseminated to the public. The Post decided to publish only four of the forty-one slides that Snowden provided. Its exercise of judgment suggests the absence of Snowden’s. Snowden fled to Hong Kong when he knew publication of his leaks was imminent. In his interview, he said he went there because “they have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent.” This may be true, in some limited way, but the overriding fact is that Hong Kong is part of China, which is, as Snowden knows, a stalwart adversary of the United States in intelligence matters. Snowden was then at the mercy of the Chinese leaders who run Hong Kong. As a result, all of Snowden’s secrets may have ended up in the hands of the Chinese government—which has no commitment at all to free speech or the right to political dissent. And that makes Snowden a hero? The American government, and its democracy, are flawed institutions just like any other public institution. But the US system offers legal options to disgruntled government employees and contractors. They can take advantage of federal whistle-blower laws; they can bring their complaints to Congress; they can try to protest within the institutions where they work. But Snowden did none of this. Instead, in an act that speaks more to his ego than his conscience, he threw the secrets he knew up in the air—and trusted, somehow, that good would come of it. We all now have to hope that he’s right.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Paquita Maria Sanchez

    Jesus. Effing. Christ.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    Snowden and Greenwald were afraid the information they’d risked everything to expose would be ignored or shrugged off by the public, so inured are we to the pervasiveness of “threats” and its counterbalance “surveillance.” In one of the later chapters, Greenwald addresses the idea of privacy, and why we need it: “Only when we believe that nobody else is watching us do we feel free—safe—to truly experiment, to rest boundaries, to explore new ways of thinking and being, to explore what it means to Snowden and Greenwald were afraid the information they’d risked everything to expose would be ignored or shrugged off by the public, so inured are we to the pervasiveness of “threats” and its counterbalance “surveillance.” In one of the later chapters, Greenwald addresses the idea of privacy, and why we need it: “Only when we believe that nobody else is watching us do we feel free—safe—to truly experiment, to rest boundaries, to explore new ways of thinking and being, to explore what it means to be ourselves…it is in the realm of privacy where creativity, dissent, and challenges to orthodoxy germinate.” This statement contains both the reasons for and reasons against the massive state surveillance program executed under the aegis of the National Security Agency. “We shouldn’t have to be faithful loyalists of the powerful to feel safe from state surveillance. Nor should the price of immunity be refraining from controversial or provocative dissent. We wouldn’t want a society where the message is conveyed that you will be left alone only if you mimic the accommodating behavior and conventional wisdom of an establishment columnist.”The last two chapters of this book are extraordinarily thought-provoking: Greenwald shares his thinking on privacy and the purpose of journalism, or "the fourth estate." He is clearly angry, but his anger serves a purpose. Greenwald won several awards for his reporting on Snowden, including being named one of 2013's Top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine (along with Snowden). The last two chapters of this book tell us why. Elsewhere in the book Greenwald discusses meeting Snowden and introducing him to the world and he shares some actual screenshots of the material provided to him by Snowden. Undoubtedly some of this material and the accompanying discussion of it will help bad actors realize the extent of U.S. oversight of their activities, and allow them to think of ways to evade detection. In that sense, this has undone some of what our security agencies have put in place. But neither Greenwald nor Snowden are traitors in the absolute sense. Mass surveillance itself makes detecting and stopping terror more difficult. There is too much information. These two shined a light on that important caveat. Greenwald and Snowden also reveal how the machinery of protection can and is being used alternatively…to obtain economic, financial, and political advantages, e.g., trade data, negotiation talking points, private correspondences between a foreign leader and her advisors…and how it can be used to monitor us, should the need arise. We may not feel the danger now, said the frog in the warming pot. But the danger is clear, all completely beside the fact that individuals within the surveilling organizations have access to the data, anytime, anywhere. “People are willing to dismiss fear of government overreach when they believe that those who happen to be in control are benevolent and trustworthy.” How many of us can say this for successive political administrations that change party affiliation? What is monstrously clear to me is large numbers of people involved in instituting and executing the series of programs revealed by Greenwald and Snowden believe they are “protecting the state,” when in fact they may be doing the opposite. In the past I recall wondering how mass delusion was possible. Isn’t this another case of the phenomenon? The convincing arguments about fixing security failures have given way to clever folks believing “collect it all” is in the public interest. How they can believe it day after day, year in year out must be that their education and their economic livelihood are tied up in it: all high tech entities are involved. The system becomes inescapable. And they can’t talk to anyone about it. I think Greenwald makes an eminently reasonable argument when he says that we have made the threat of terrorism an argument for dismantling the very protections that make our system of government so unique and so exceptional and so universally admired. We go to the dark side on that path. We have other examples of countries that have made such choices, some still operating today. I do not think that should be our goal. Greenwald defines the concept of the “fourth estate” thusly: “those who exercise the greatest power need to be challenged by adversarial pushback and an insistence on transparency; the job of the press is to disprove the falsehoods that power invariably disseminates to protect itself. Without that type of journalism, abuse is inevitable.” Regarding journalistic objectivity, Greenwald is blunt: “The relevant distinction is not between journalists who have opinions and those who have none, a category that does not exist. It is between journalists who candidly reveal their opinions and those who conceal them, pretending they have none.” I admit that has been an issue that has bothered me for years, having discovered a remarkable lack of objectivity in newspapers even in choosing which stories to run and which to withhold. The final chapter in this book is a mighty indictment of the powerfully connected U.S. media establishment and finally tells me why Snowden went to Greenwald with his information, as opposed to any other news organization. It also relaxes to a certain extent the tension I experienced at the beginning of the book upon learning of Greenwald’s adversarial and aggressive stance, though I can’t help but worry that I am now being managed by Greenwald. I think everyone can agree that Snowden, Poitras, and Greenwald are brave folks. Whatever else folks have been calling them, that, at least, is the truth.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    There are quite some books out there on the NSA surveillance topic. I decided to pick this one because I believe it's as close to the "truth" as it possibly can be. And that's an ugly truth indeed. Not a day goes by without new shocking details about this incredible ordeal are being flushed to the surface. (Just yesterday an employee of BND (Bundenachrichtendienst, the German equivalent to the NSA) has been arrested for spying on the German parliamentary investigation into US government spying on There are quite some books out there on the NSA surveillance topic. I decided to pick this one because I believe it's as close to the "truth" as it possibly can be. And that's an ugly truth indeed. Not a day goes by without new shocking details about this incredible ordeal are being flushed to the surface. (Just yesterday an employee of BND (Bundenachrichtendienst, the German equivalent to the NSA) has been arrested for spying on the German parliamentary investigation into US government spying on Germans on behalf of the US government. This will surely prompt another investigation which can then be spied on as well) The book consists essentially of three parts: 1) The Spy Story, in which Glenn Greendwald explains how he was contacted by Edward Snowden and finally met him in Hong Kong for the first time and how he received the NSA documents. 2) A look into the documents and the description of NSA's weapons of mass surveillance, like PRISM, XKEYSCORE and so on. 3) The worldwide reception of Greenwald's publications with special emphasis on the deplorable situation of the American press and media. Reading this book made me sick to my stomach! And that's not because it isn't well written. I just wish I could put it on my shelf of dystopian fiction. But as a dystopian novel this book isn't any good. Far too exaggerated and unrealistic, hardly any heroes and it also lacks a somewhat happy ending. I'm just so happy it describes reality There's one small issue I had with this book: The graphics with the NSA documents that are distributed over the text, can hardly be read on the Kindle device. Time and again I had to visit nsadisclosures.com and read them there (most likely being monitored by the NSA). I think this is an essential book and reading is imperative for anyone. "Now they're planning the crime of the century. Well, what will it be ? Read all about their schemes and adventuring; Yes, it's well worth the fee." (lyrics by Supertramp; written in 1974 well before the advent of the Internet) This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Caspin

    One of the most phenomenal books I've ever read. Glenn Greenwald is a pure spirit, striking straight at the gut of the cocky politicians and institutions drunk on political and technological power, all leading lives of hypocrisy as they claim to represent democracy and freedom, while simultaneously tormenting the world with drone strikes and invasive surveillance. It was utterly thrilling to read Greenwald's first hand account of being contacted by one Edward Snowden, and then meeting him in Hon One of the most phenomenal books I've ever read. Glenn Greenwald is a pure spirit, striking straight at the gut of the cocky politicians and institutions drunk on political and technological power, all leading lives of hypocrisy as they claim to represent democracy and freedom, while simultaneously tormenting the world with drone strikes and invasive surveillance. It was utterly thrilling to read Greenwald's first hand account of being contacted by one Edward Snowden, and then meeting him in Hong Kong to play a little game of dyslexic spycraft and release the truth to the masses of planet Earth. You cannot get any better, if you're searching for bravery, integrity, and historical awesomeness! Cheers to Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden. You are true men, true humans, true examples of what we should and could all be. And you standout so blatantly in juxtaposition to the lying politicians and drunk-on-power intelligence elite who could care less about the privacy of the world's citizens.

  10. 4 out of 5

    The Pfaeffle Journal (Diane)

    I was interested in how one person could possibly steal digital information from our government. I never really found out by reading this book. I did find out that the government has the ability to know a lot about us and our personal lives. I also decided that you would have to live totally off the grid to have any real privacy, which I don't think is even possible to do any longer. What interest me now is if we have such capabilities to spy on people then, we should know exactly what was happen I was interested in how one person could possibly steal digital information from our government. I never really found out by reading this book. I did find out that the government has the ability to know a lot about us and our personal lives. I also decided that you would have to live totally off the grid to have any real privacy, which I don't think is even possible to do any longer. What interest me now is if we have such capabilities to spy on people then, we should know exactly what was happening with Trump et al. Early on in the Trump investigation wasn't there talk of surveillance of foreign diplomats and didn't the Obama Administration ask the courts to release information as to whom that foreign diplomat was speaking to? Did Trump collude with the Russians, I personally don't believe he has the depth or knowledge to successfully do that. While Greenwald makes Edward Snowden out to be the hero of the 20th century, he (Greenwald) takes to task the The Washington Post and The New York Times for going to the government for input before publishing stories about their suspicious activities implying that we never get the truth because the media and government collude to lessen the impact of these stories. Greenwald can, in my mind's eye, be a bit self-righteous at times, but mostly he is spot on. I wanted to read No Place to Hide prior to reading How America Lost Its Secrets by Edward Jay Epstein, whom has a totally different take on Edward Snowden and the theft of documents from the NSA apparatus. This review was originally posted on The Pfaeffle Journal

  11. 5 out of 5

    Fabian Scherschel

    Roughly a year after establishing contact with Edward Snowden, journalist Glenn Greenwald has published a book that is part spy story, part analysis of the impact of Snowden's revelations and in part a reckoning with the surveillance state his home country has become. Greenwald writes his book with the authority vested in him by the whistleblower, who reportedly chose him based on his work in the past. With this trust comes probably the most comprehensive access to Snowden's documents anybody as Roughly a year after establishing contact with Edward Snowden, journalist Glenn Greenwald has published a book that is part spy story, part analysis of the impact of Snowden's revelations and in part a reckoning with the surveillance state his home country has become. Greenwald writes his book with the authority vested in him by the whistleblower, who reportedly chose him based on his work in the past. With this trust comes probably the most comprehensive access to Snowden's documents anybody aside from the whistleblower himself has had. Parts of the book are direct attacks on the established media in the US, which Greenwald finds untenably co-opted by the government. This, at times, degrades into personal attacks on other journalists who criticised him in the past for the way in which he has dealt with access to Snowden's documents. I found many of these passages cumbersome, inappropriate, even cringeworthy. Throughout these bits, Greenwald comes across as self-absorbed and too proud of himself. Many of his attacks on colleagues are exaggerated and some seem wholly unnecessary. If you're looking for fresh revelations, you're looking in the wrong place. If you haven't followed all the post-Snowden NSA news, however, Greenwald does provide a decent overview of the impact of the revelations. Especially the first chapters, where the author tells a le Carré-style spy story of the meeting with Snowden in Hong Kong, is well worth a read. The personal tone that Greenwald sets here fits well with that kind of story, but it becomes a burden later on as it colours his overview of the scandal and causes the above mentioned bias towards his colleagues and the media at large. Another problem with Greenwald's analysis is the fact that it is very US-centric. The impact of the scandal on Germany or the UK is only touched on during brief moments. A decent book that gives a relatively unfiltered look at the thinking of the journalists involved in breaking the Snowden story and even, to some degree, into the thinking of the whistleblower himself. As a whole, the book is somewhat dry and contains a lot of uninspired (and what seems like hastily edited) language. There's also aweful hyperbole in places. Still, it's worth a read if you're interested in the topic — if only for the unique perspective of the book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Christine Zibas

    "Ultimately, beyond diplomatic manipulation and economic gain, a system of ubiquitous spying allows the United States to maintain its grip on the world. When the United States is able to know everything that everyone is doing, saying, thinking, and planning -- its own citizens, foreign populations, international corporations, other government leaders -- its power over those factions is maximized.... It is the ultimate imbalance, permitting the most dangerous of all human conditions: the exercise "Ultimately, beyond diplomatic manipulation and economic gain, a system of ubiquitous spying allows the United States to maintain its grip on the world. When the United States is able to know everything that everyone is doing, saying, thinking, and planning -- its own citizens, foreign populations, international corporations, other government leaders -- its power over those factions is maximized.... It is the ultimate imbalance, permitting the most dangerous of all human conditions: the exercise of limitless power with no transparency or accountability." Having watched both the CitizenFour and Snowden movies, having read about Snowden and the NSA revelations extensively in the news and online, I thought I would be prepared for what was revealed in this book by Greenwald. It still managed to shock me. Perhaps more than anything, the alarm starts sounding in one's head when one realizes that the spying has not stopped, even while public interest has waned -- or should I say, moved on to other, more pressing political issues? That's perhaps the greatest fault of the American culture and system of government. Today's crisis replaces yesterday's so quickly in the press and in our minds that no matter how uncomfortable or life-altering the news, we're always ready to move on to the next thing. This book should be required reading in high school civics classes and by all responsible, voting-aged adults. In a democracy, we get the government we deserve. Without oversight and participation in a democracy, things quickly run amuck, as the transgressions by the intelligence community have proven here. If we don't learn to focus and stay with an issue, be it spying, pollution, or any other life-altering decision in this nation, we will quickly find that we live in a country we don't recognize any more.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin

    This fast paced easy to read and clear book is chilling. The NSA is developing a panopticon of survelance that Orwell couldn't imagine. Greenwald lays out the in transcripts he received from Edward Snowden the extent of the spying on Americans and people worldwide. It reads like something out of a dystopian tech thriller but this is most definitely a work of non-fiction. The NSA is on a mission to collect as much information as it possibly can on everyone. There are no boundaries. Right now it This fast paced easy to read and clear book is chilling. The NSA is developing a panopticon of survelance that Orwell couldn't imagine. Greenwald lays out the in transcripts he received from Edward Snowden the extent of the spying on Americans and people worldwide. It reads like something out of a dystopian tech thriller but this is most definitely a work of non-fiction. The NSA is on a mission to collect as much information as it possibly can on everyone. There are no boundaries. Right now it collects our phone call metadata, our internet searches even our keystrokes. It has the ability to spy in on you with your cell phone. They are collecting to much data to organize on everyone but just the idea that an all knowing authority can listen in on citizens at any time has a severe chilling effect. Like an all powerful god watching we keep to ourselves and not rock the boat. This will kill candor or controversy or unorthodox expression. People may not worry too much about this loss of privacy (only "bad" people need to worry they might say" but a state with some freedoms could turn hostile and elites who already ocntrol our political system to great extent (corporations, the political class et cetera) might use this to quell a challenge like the tea party and occupy movements. This is an issue we ignore at our peril. Update 12/8/16 in about six weeks Donald J. Trump will sit at the head of this surveillance state. This books worries are about to become infinitely more pressing. Sweet dreams.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    Its been a long time since I read an entire book in one sitting. I find the most disturbing part of this entire story to be the way in which the appointed talking heads tried to slander Greenwald and Snowden afterwards. The story here isn't as much about what the NSA is collecting and what it isn't, as it is about how the powers that be don't like dissenting thought and how easy it is to turn the propaganda machine against someone. Americans have become desensitized to losing their privacy. What Its been a long time since I read an entire book in one sitting. I find the most disturbing part of this entire story to be the way in which the appointed talking heads tried to slander Greenwald and Snowden afterwards. The story here isn't as much about what the NSA is collecting and what it isn't, as it is about how the powers that be don't like dissenting thought and how easy it is to turn the propaganda machine against someone. Americans have become desensitized to losing their privacy. What they need to realize is that they are losing their freedom to think. Being constantly watched or fearful of being watched changes your behavior even when nobody is looking. I have heard is said that only "Bad" people have something to hide. Well in America you are innocent of that title until you have your day in court. What if the Bad people are the ones in control? What if Snowden didn't turn all this info over to the public. The NSA has shown they can't keep their own secrets. Even if you believe the government is trustworthy with your information, imagine what someone with purely evil intent might do with this kind of access as just another employee somewhere. What about when this information forcibly includes your medical records? That will give the slander machine all kinds of new ammunition. It also makes me rethink all the conflict about the new DSM. Anyone who operates out of "societal norms" is now going to be tracked. Privacy is one thing, a loss of your day in court and your freedom of speech is another. People need to understand the entire bill of rights are tied together. When one falls they all fall together. I'll stop with my review now before I start a Paranoid rant... Read the book

  15. 4 out of 5

    Geoff

    This isn't a review of No Place To Hide, I haven't read this book. These are a few comments on Citizenfour, which I watched last night. There is nothing revelatory in the film, nothing you wouldn't know if you have been following Snowden and Greenwald's story and the facts about NSA surveillance here and abroad. What the film does give you is a chance to hear Snowden's side of things, as Laura Poitras was with him in the hotel in Hong Kong during the eight days that Greenwald interviewed Snowden a This isn't a review of No Place To Hide, I haven't read this book. These are a few comments on Citizenfour, which I watched last night. There is nothing revelatory in the film, nothing you wouldn't know if you have been following Snowden and Greenwald's story and the facts about NSA surveillance here and abroad. What the film does give you is a chance to hear Snowden's side of things, as Laura Poitras was with him in the hotel in Hong Kong during the eight days that Greenwald interviewed Snowden and began publishing his stories about the NSA surveillance programs. So you see Snowden reacting to events in real time, and the fallout from his coming forth with this information. You get a chance to see and hear him with little interpretation and little mediation, in this way you have the chance to make up your own mind about his actions, more on your own terms rather than through the filter of a cable news or newspaper outlet or your talking head of choice. There is nothing revelatory in the film, as I said, if you have been keeping track of his story over the past few years. Except for maybe in the very last scene. Nonetheless it is an important film for every world citizen to see to understand the reality in which we live. That every piece of digital communication you make, every phone conversation you have, text or picture message, email, video chat, bank or credit card purchase, metro card use, cell phone tower location ping, anything at all you do that leaves any digital trace, is being collected and stored by your government in order to be able to use it against you in the future if need be, is not revelatory. This is Real Life. But this is only Real Life and not revelatory because Snowden came out with this information, at the expense of his freedom and possibly his life. Whether you brand him a hero or a traitor or something in between probably has to do with your ideological orientation. But no matter your ideological orientation, when NSA officials, before a congressional hearing, denied they were collecting our private communications and digital information at the very moment they were doing that very thing with every single citizen of the United States and millions of people abroad- that President Obama, during a press conference, called Snowden a "criminal" that "needs to be brought to justice", and said that the right way to deal with the issues of the NSA surveillance revelations, of invasive government programs, the right to privacy, to personal and civil rights, is through "lawful means and debate"- that he says this with a straight face, knowing very well that none of this could possibly even be a topic of conversation at all, would still remain an unknown, unless Snowden broke the law and risked everything to reveal these things to us should be infuriating, galling, an insult to your intelligence, and utterly terrifying.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ash Jogalekar

    Makes as good a case for preserving civil liberties and individual privacy against government interference as I have read, and you don't have to be of any particular political persuasion to appreciate the argument. Also excoriates the mainstream media with righteous, smoldering contempt for toeing the party line and publishing only "government-approved" material. Greenwald appeals to mainstream reporters to revert back to the press's original role, which was to act as an independent bulwark agai Makes as good a case for preserving civil liberties and individual privacy against government interference as I have read, and you don't have to be of any particular political persuasion to appreciate the argument. Also excoriates the mainstream media with righteous, smoldering contempt for toeing the party line and publishing only "government-approved" material. Greenwald appeals to mainstream reporters to revert back to the press's original role, which was to act as an independent bulwark against government actions, not as a tool in bed with the Washington elite. The first part of the book in which he meets Edward Snowden reads like a thriller, but the second part defending the essence of privacy and freedom of the press is actually more interesting and valuable. Greenwald sometimes sounds a little too shrill and self-righteous in his denunciations of the mainstream media - and he is also a bit unfair in neglecting the contributions of the few dissenting reporters in conventional media sources - but if anyone has earned the right to scold it's him. The most striking argument that Greenwald makes in favor of privacy is regarding its value as a driving force for unleashing human creativity and intellect; no Einstein, Picasso or Beethoven would have been able to do what they did if they constantly feared that someone was watching them. Privacy is not just about safeguarding our intimate moments or being able to express dissent, it's about being able to have the peace of mind to work and think in solitude so that human beings can achieve their highest potential. It is this most valuable human trait that government surveillance really tramples on. Required reading.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    I've been following the story of the NSA leaks from the beginning, so of course I bought this book almost as soon as it was available on Kindle. At first I didn't have the time to sit down and devour it, but I read bits and pieces the first couple of days and I could already see how good it was going to be. Somewhat frustrated that I hadn't been able to get any long reading sessions in yet, I realized some early reviews would probably be out by then, so I went online to check out what kind of wav I've been following the story of the NSA leaks from the beginning, so of course I bought this book almost as soon as it was available on Kindle. At first I didn't have the time to sit down and devour it, but I read bits and pieces the first couple of days and I could already see how good it was going to be. Somewhat frustrated that I hadn't been able to get any long reading sessions in yet, I realized some early reviews would probably be out by then, so I went online to check out what kind of waves the book must have been making. The thing that shocked me right off the bat was how it wasn't something that everyone was talking about. I expected a ton of book reviews in all top newspapers, but the only thing noteworthy that came up was a review in the Wall Street Journal. The writer took Greenwald to task, accusing him of making mountains out of mole hills. The arguments mystified me. I thought to myself, "Is this person reading the same book that I am?" I have two overarching thoughts on this phenomenon: 1) Greenwald, a former lawyer, is meticulously building a case in this book. Brick by brick, he uses evidence pulled from the leaked slides and memos to construct his argument. So far, he has only made one big misstep in my opinion, which is to imply that our leaders had sinister motives in mind when constructing this system. This is the only area he has tragically gone out on a limb because, in my opinion, motives don't matter. The system is objectionable on many levels without a need to even discuss motive, or even blame. 2) I don't think the people that have written reviews like the one in the WSJ have really taken the time to read this book deeply. It is not a book where you can pull out shocking one-liners (I know, because I've been trying) because the context of all of the other bricks in place building this case are so important to really understand the significance of each brick. The last chapters of the book turn into more of a political diatribe as he talks about the experiences he and his partner David Miranda experienced being vilified in the press (and by the customs officers at Heathrow airport). Greenwald has a chip on his shoulder, but he is entitled to carry a grudge. If you go into this book looking for a reason to pick it a part, the final chapters is where you would focus your energies and that seems to be what the WSJ reviewer did. What the WSJ review left out, though, was the meticulously constructed argument that the US gov't successfully constructed a surveillance state with key officials lying to congress about it all the way. I would recommend that every citizen read this book no matter your position on the leaks. There is so much food for thought about our government's role in our lives. This much was expected. What I didn't expect was the thoughtful discussion about the role of the media as the fourth estate and how it is in decline as a government watchdog at the peril of our privacy. It was a nice surprise and even though Greenwald is clearly emotional about the issue, his arguments have strong merit backed by the evidence of his first hand experiences.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Yonis Gure

    And here I thought true, honest, adversarial journalism was a dying art. Glenn Greenwald, over the last couple of years or so, has emerged as one of America’s leading civil-liberties advocate and he stands aloof from his fellow power-hugging journalists who engage in egregious dereliction of duty by not speaking truth to the powers that be. Beginning with his first contact with Snowden, his sojourn in Hong Kong, his meticulous assembling of the disclosures and his elucidation of the broader impl And here I thought true, honest, adversarial journalism was a dying art. Glenn Greenwald, over the last couple of years or so, has emerged as one of America’s leading civil-liberties advocate and he stands aloof from his fellow power-hugging journalists who engage in egregious dereliction of duty by not speaking truth to the powers that be. Beginning with his first contact with Snowden, his sojourn in Hong Kong, his meticulous assembling of the disclosures and his elucidation of the broader implications of those documents - No Place to Hide is a fantastically written and brilliantly argued book. I particularly enjoyed his evisceration of all the arguments levelled against him and Snowden by surveillance cheerleaders and other journalists who constantly invoke the annoyingly vacuous slogan of a “Terrorist threat” as justification for privacy invasion. For those who have closely followed the NSA story as it unfolded, some of the information in this book won’t be new, but I’d still pick it up for the sheer fact that Greenwald isn’t The Obama administration’s amanuensis like some people I could mention.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Forsyth

    I'd give this four and a half stars if I could! Greenwald does an excellent job with the book's structure, taking readers through his experiences with Snowden, to the documents he provided and the troubling questions they raise. Finally, Greenwald focuses on the media, and the role they can (but rarely do) perform to challenge the government. The book is focused, angry, and uncompromising, painting a disturbing portrait of the NSA and the intelligence community, and the world they have created. I'd give this four and a half stars if I could! Greenwald does an excellent job with the book's structure, taking readers through his experiences with Snowden, to the documents he provided and the troubling questions they raise. Finally, Greenwald focuses on the media, and the role they can (but rarely do) perform to challenge the government. The book is focused, angry, and uncompromising, painting a disturbing portrait of the NSA and the intelligence community, and the world they have created. This is my first time reading Greenwald, but I was impressed by his style - similar to Jeremy Scahill (who is thanked in the acknowledgements), but with less ego. Looking at top secret PowerPoint slides detailing Orwellian technologies but with cute clip art in the corners is a disorienting experience.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mario the lone bookwolf

    The motto of the civilian population is just to go on as if nothing had happened. Please note that I put the original German text at the end of this review. Just if you might be interested. I have read the book a few years later. As a result, the lack of consequences and improvements has become all the more obvious. There is not much to add to the story because of its fame. Except that the Nobel Peace Prize should perhaps not have been handed over to the President, but to the public enemy. The fac The motto of the civilian population is just to go on as if nothing had happened. Please note that I put the original German text at the end of this review. Just if you might be interested. I have read the book a few years later. As a result, the lack of consequences and improvements has become all the more obvious. There is not much to add to the story because of its fame. Except that the Nobel Peace Prize should perhaps not have been handed over to the President, but to the public enemy. The fact that the scandal has no consequences implies a different story than the initial indignation. From politics and economy, nothing else was to be expected. Too many negative associations and implications. But nobody would have expected that all of civil society would be impassive to the hustle and bustle. It is reminiscent of industrial scandals, war crimes, corruption scandals, etc. Just that these are limited to one act. Such a severe and irreversible intervention in the lives of all human beings is a border crossing of unprecedented dimensions. Concerning the media, it is a prime example of the messenger being made a scapegoat. Instead of finding and punishing those responsible for the worst threat of Western democracies for decades, the bearer is stigmatized. Even if he is, rarely, glorified, it is counterproductive. The facts he has revealed are explosive, not the person himself. The same mechanism can be found with politicians and wars. It is not reported on the politics, the party, the system and the intricate and complex interdependencies. But about what dress his wife wore at a state reception and what kind of pet he held himself. It is not reported about the warring parties, the alliances or the geo strategic motivations, but a war diary led. So and so many deads, attacks, material losses and, of course, victories! What would we be without victories? However, people love simple, emotional stories about a demonized or martyred intelligence worker, a charismatic statesman, or a massive battle with sleek killing machines and thrilling firefights. It is a bit like sports, except that they are all for the same team. Woe, the home team once does not win. Then there are economic sanctions. Also, while one is well entertained, an out-of-control intelligence apparatus creates a state in the state. Without any legitimacy constraints, monitoring instances or legal barriers. The early admonishers were long given a prize to the ridicule or condemned as dangerous conspiracy theorists. After showing that they were right, there was fire on the roof for a few weeks or months. As with all news, this undermining, erosion, and destruction of democracy lost its charm and people became tired of it. Constitutionalists were good enough to promote the hype. It looked entertaining when activists were serious about their years of initiatives and civil rights movements. Now the public listened to them. However, they always talked the same thing, demanding strenuous initiative and, worse, thinking and commitment. Therefore one forgot them again fast. Besides, critics and activists could hear something new. Everyone said that he or she already knew it. "The political system is not just corrupt, but also curious. Can not do anything about it. It is so." All right as long as ones eat, drink, consume and have four walls around. Into that, one can place different stultification devices which wash brains with system propaganda. It would be excusable if already drastic restrictive measures would threaten. Prison, torture and disappear. The justification for wanting to protect one's own life. But not an ethical, but profound reason prevents commitment. Simple apathy. One can try so many metaphors in this context. The frog in the slowly hotter getting water. The three monkeys. Anyway primates in general. It seems that with the end of media attention, the fact has either disappeared from people's perceptions. Or they would be completely indifferent. The rulers do not even have to hide it, which also saves costs. They oversee all people, run networks of secret prisons, build private armies, etc. It's not a big deal. All these admonishing writers in the past always have exaggerated scenarios so that they have a hanger. It is the sheer coincidence of the place of one's birth that we still live in a happier version of "Brave New World." All we have to do is consume well and avoid conspicuous militant and media-effective resistance, so as not to get into the focus of the investigators. Too much commitment to nature conservation, animal rights, alternative forms of economy, etc. could bring one into the focus of a generously defined anti-terrorist paragraph. If instead, we had seen the light of day in the Orient instead of in the Occident Big Brother had already often laughed in the cradle. Too often people have slept peacefully in an enlightened democracy and have woken up in a dictatorship again. By the sound of breaking the door at the most psychologically favorable time of the early morning hours. By agents of the former constitutional state. Die Devise der Zivilbevölkerung ist, einfach so weiter zu machen, als wäre nichts passiert. Ich habe das Buch mit ein paar Jahren Verspätung gelesen. Dadurch ist der Mangel an gezogenen Konsequenzen und Verbesserungen noch umso augenscheinlicher zu Tage getreten. Zur Geschichte selbst bleibt aufgrund ihrer Bekanntheit nicht viel zu sagen. Außer, dass der Friedensnobelpreis vielleicht nicht an den Präsidenten, sondern an den Staatsfeind überreicht hätte werden sollen. Dass der Skandal keinerlei Konsequenzen nach sich zieht, steht auf einem anderen Blatt als die anfängliche Empörung. Von Politik und Wirtschaft war nichts anderes zu erwarten. Zu viele negative Assoziationen und Implikationen. Aber dass die gesamte Zivilgesellschaft dem Treiben teilnahmslos gegenüber stehen würde, hätte doch keiner erwartet. Es erinnert an Industrieskandale, Kriegsverbrechen, Korruptionsskandale, etc. Nur dass diese auf eine Tat beschränkt sind. Ein so schwerwiegendes und irreversibles Eingreifen in die Leben aller Menschen ist eine Grenzüberschreitung nie dagewesener Dimension. Hinsichtlich der Medien ist es ein Musterbeispiel dafür, dass der Bote zum Sündenbock gemacht wird. Anstatt die Verantwortlichen für die schlimmste Bedrohung der westlichen Demokratien seit Jahrzehnten zur Rechenschaft zu ziehen, wird der Überbringer stigmatisiert. Selbst wenn er, eher selten, glorifiziert wird, schadet dass der Sache. Der Sachverhalt, den er aufgedeckt hat, ist von Brisanz und nicht die Person selbst. Denselben Mechanismus findet man bei Politikern und Kriegen. Es wird nicht über die Politik, die Partei, das System und die komplizierten und vielschichtigen Verflechtungen berichtet. Sondern darüber, was für ein Kleid seine Frau bei einem Staatsempfang trug und was für ein Haustier er sich hält. Es wird nicht über die Kriegsparteien, die Allianzen, die geostrategischen Motivationen oder gar die Strippenzieher berichtet, sondern ein Kriegstagebuch geführt. So und so viele Tote, Anschläge, Materialverluste und, natürlich, Siege! Was wären wir ohne Siege. Aber Menschen lieben einfache, emotionale Geschichten von einem dämonisierten oder zum Märtyrer erhobenen Geheimdienstmitarbeiter, charismatischen Staatsmann oder einem richtig großen Gefecht mit schnittigen Tötungsmaschinen und spannenden Schusswechseln. Ein bisschen wie beim Sport, nur dass alle fürs das gleiche Team sind. Wehe, die Heimmannschaft gewinnt einmal nicht. Dann gibt es Wirtschaftssanktionen. Und während man bestens unterhalten ist, erschafft ein außer Kontrolle geratener Geheimdienstapparat sich einen Staat im Staat. Ohne jegliche Legitimationszwänge, Überwachungsinstanzen oder gesetzliche Schranken. Die frühen Mahner wurden lange der Lächerlichkeit Preis gegeben, als Verschwörungstheoretiker verlacht oder als gefährlich eingestuft. Nachdem sich zeigte, dass sie recht hatten, war für ein paar Wochen oder Monate Feuer am Dach. Wie bei allen Nachrichten verlor diese Unterminierung, Aushöhlung und Zerstörung der Demokratie ihren Reiz und die Menschen wurden ihrer überdrüssig. Verfassungsschützer waren gut genug, um den Hype zu fördern. Es sah gut aus, wenn Aktivisten ernst dreinblickend über ihre jahrelangen Initiativen und Bürgerrechtsbewegungen sprachen. Jetzt hörte man ihnen die Öffentlichkeit zwar zu. Aber sie redeten immer das gleiche und forderten noch dazu anstrengende eigene Initiative und, noch schlimmer, denken und Engagement. Daher vergaß man sie lieber wieder schnell. Zusätzlich konnten sich Kritiker und Aktivisten auch etwas Neues anhören. Man nahm sie ja jetzt ernst und sagte stattdessen, dass man es schon wisse. Das politische System sei halt nicht nur korrupt, sondern auch neugierig. Kann man nicht ändern. Ist so. Alles gut, solange wir zu fressen, zu saufen, zu konsumieren und 4 Wände um uns haben. In die können wir uns einen Lebenszeitfresser stellen, der uns mit Systempropaganda das Gehirn wäscht. Es wäre entschuldbar, wenn bereits einschneidende restriktive Maßnahmen drohen würden. Gefängnis, Folter und verschwinden lassen. Die Rechtfertigung, das eigene Leben schützen zu wollen. Aber nicht ein zwar ethisch streitbarer, aber profunder Grund verhindert Engagement. Sondern schlichte Apathie. Man kann in diesem Kontext so viele Metaphern bemühen. Der Frosch im langsam heißer werdenden Wasser. Die 3 Affen. Überhaupt Primaten im Allgemeinen. Es scheint, als wäre die Tatsache mit dem Ende der medialen Aufmerksamkeit entweder aus der Wahrnehmung der Menschen verschwunden. Oder es wäre ihnen vollkommen gleichgültig. Die Herrschenden müssen es nicht einmal mehr verheimlichen, was auch wieder Kosten spart. Sie überwachen alle Menschen, betreiben Netze von Geheimgefängnissen, bauen Privatarmeen auf, usw. Ist doch keine große Sache. Diese ganzen mahnenden Schriftsteller in der Vergangenheit haben sie Szenarien immer so übertrieben, damit sie einen Aufhänger haben. Es ist der reine Zufall des Orts der eigenen Geburt, dass wir noch in einer fröhlicheren Version von "Brave New World" leben. Wir müssen nur brav konsumieren und sollten zu auffälligen militanten und medienwirksamen Widerstand vermeiden, um nicht in den Fokus der Ermittler zu geraten. Zu viel Engagement für Naturschutz, Tierrechte, alternative Wirtschaftsformen etc könnte einen schon in den Fokus eines großzügig ausgelegten Antiterrorparagraphen bringen. Hätten wir stattdessen im Orient statt im Okzident das Licht der Welt erblickt, hätte und Big Brother bereits häufig in die Wiege gelacht. Schon zu oft haben Menschen in einer aufgeklärten Demokratie selig geschlummert und sind in einer Diktatur wieder aufgewacht. Vom Geräusch des Aufbrechens der Tür zur psychologisch günstigsten Zeit der frühen Morgenstunden. Durch Agenten des ehemaligen Rechtsstaats.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brad Feld

    Amy and I were going to have a bunch of friends over to our house today but we got rained out. So, I read Glenn Greenwald’s book No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State instead. It was outstanding – 5 stars. Let’s start with the punchline from Warren and Brandeis in their 1890 Harvard Law Review article The Right to Privacy where they assert that the right to privacy is primarily a “right to be left alone.” Ponder that for a moment. It’s a hot topic in my household Amy and I were going to have a bunch of friends over to our house today but we got rained out. So, I read Glenn Greenwald’s book No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State instead. It was outstanding – 5 stars. Let’s start with the punchline from Warren and Brandeis in their 1890 Harvard Law Review article The Right to Privacy where they assert that the right to privacy is primarily a “right to be left alone.” Ponder that for a moment. It’s a hot topic in my household since Amy did her thesis at Wellesley on the right to privacy. At the same time, I’ve been very open with my belief over the last decade that there is no more privacy, that the government tracks everything we do, and if you build your worldview around the notion that you have privacy, you are going to be disappointed. I guess I’ve been watching too much 24. Now, this doesn’t mean I don’t think one should have a right to privacy. If I believed that, the philosophical arguments in our house would escalate dramatically. Rather, I gave up my own belief that I have privacy. And, I’ve felt for a long time that society is in a very unstable situation with regard to data, data privacy, and personal privacy. And I think this is going to get much, much worse as the machines further integrate themselves into everything we do. So I view the problem of privacy at a meta-level. And as a result, I find books like Greenwald’s fascinating, powerful, and deeply insightful into the cause, effect, reaction, and second-order effect of humans trying to process what is going on, defend their position, and advance their perspective. I thought Greenwald did a particularly good job of three things in this book: Painting a clear picture of Snowden, his character, and Greenwald’s experience interacting with him. Addressing the actions of the NSA that should cause outrage, or at least a deep, thoughtful conversation about what the appropriate boundaries for government surveillance in the United States. Demonstrating the tactics of the US government, especially through media which is sympathetic to the US government, in shifting the story from the main event (the NSA disclosures) to a continual campaign of discrediting the participants (Snowden and Greenwald). It doesn’t matter which side of the issue you are on. If you feel like calling Snowden, and possible Greenwald, a traitor, you should read this book carefully. If you believe they are whistleblowers, or even heroes, you should read this book carefully. If you believe the government never lies, or always lies, you should read this book carefully. If you believe journalists aren’t caught up in the game, are objective, and have integrity, you should read this book carefully. I’ve felt for a long time that it’s a real cop-out to call Snowden a traitor or just react to the surface of what is going on here. There are some really profound forces at work that will impact the United States, our notion of democracy, and privacy, for many years. And the second order effects, including how other nations view the United States and the other four of the Five Eyes or the implications on global companies headquartered in the United States, will impact us for many years. And, as a bonus, there are lots of revealing PowerPoint charts in the book from the NSA documents which, in addition to driving Snowden and Greenwald’s points home, demonstrate that the US Government needs some courses in making PowerPoint slides nicer.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Giselle

    First half was excellent.. because it foretold exactly what happened before and during the documentary CITIZEN FOUR. But the latter half was a little bit too boring for me. I did find out many things like the government being able to tap into ANY electronic device (whether it's powered off or on) and turn it into a listening device. They can also activate your cameras to literally spy on you, even if it's off. Creepy right?! So yeah every time I have my phone, iPad or laptop, I'm aware of all of First half was excellent.. because it foretold exactly what happened before and during the documentary CITIZEN FOUR. But the latter half was a little bit too boring for me. I did find out many things like the government being able to tap into ANY electronic device (whether it's powered off or on) and turn it into a listening device. They can also activate your cameras to literally spy on you, even if it's off. Creepy right?! So yeah every time I have my phone, iPad or laptop, I'm aware of all of these things. Doesn't help that every where you go, someone has one of these electronic devices and you can still be spied on. The novel 1984 is and will always be a classic, but it has come true. We live in a surveillance society, what will we do about it is what I want to know.:

  23. 5 out of 5

    Arielle Walker

    In May 2013, Edward Snowden released classified National Security documents proving that the American government had been spying en-masse on its citizens. He has since been called both a traitor and a patriot, a hero and a dissident, but even his strongest critics were unable to deny the truth behind his allegations: peoples’ privacy was being violated in extreme, secretive ways – and the government was lying to cover it up. At the time – at least at first – it all sounded to me like the plot of In May 2013, Edward Snowden released classified National Security documents proving that the American government had been spying en-masse on its citizens. He has since been called both a traitor and a patriot, a hero and a dissident, but even his strongest critics were unable to deny the truth behind his allegations: peoples’ privacy was being violated in extreme, secretive ways – and the government was lying to cover it up. At the time – at least at first – it all sounded to me like the plot of the next Jack Reacher book. In fact, I even recall reading a Jeffery Deaver novel that covered similar territory, and being very, very glad that this kind of thing didn’t happen in “real life” (and particularly not in little old NZ). If everything Snowden was saying was, in fact, true, it still didn’t really affect us here on the other side of the world – right? The more information Snowden leaked – with the help of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald – the more naïve that viewpoint seemed. If the name Glenn Greenwald looks familiar, it’s probably because (if you're in New Zealand at the moment) you’ve seen it splashed across newspapers or blogs in the past week. Greenwald was here as an instrumental part of Kim Dotcom’s Monday night revelations, the so-called “Moment of Truth” where New Zealand’s part in this mass-surveillance network was revealed to a strongly polarised audience. (He also has been called a "loser" and "Dotcom's henchmen" by our ever so classy and well-spoken prime-minister, but that's another story). The timing for reading this book couldn't be more perfect, in light of these recent revelations - we have an election on Saturday. I'm not feeling hopeful in terms of the outcome but miracles happen sometimes, right? Before I digress completely and turn this into a political rant (a side effect of beng an art student with a socially-engaged practice means that my friends have to put up with far too many of these already - sorry), here's the rest of my review... Received from the publisher through NZ Booklovers

  24. 5 out of 5

    Colleen

    I hated this book and I am by no means an NSA apologist. I think the system should be dismantled and that the leaders and corporations who conspired with the NSA should be punished. Their overreach is staggering. (Expected, since governments have been doing this as much as they could since we created them, but staggering.) Unfortunately the reporting here sucks. It reads as though it's supposed to be a political thriller, but it's poorly done and focuses on the least interesting aspect of the sto I hated this book and I am by no means an NSA apologist. I think the system should be dismantled and that the leaders and corporations who conspired with the NSA should be punished. Their overreach is staggering. (Expected, since governments have been doing this as much as they could since we created them, but staggering.) Unfortunately the reporting here sucks. It reads as though it's supposed to be a political thriller, but it's poorly done and focuses on the least interesting aspect of the story... Greenwald himself. "I knew as soon as I saw...", "I instantly recognized...", "I could barely wait..." "Only now did I feel that I..." "I was determined that the reporting I did would be driven by the same spirit...", "Only audacious journalism could give the story the power..." This is not a book about Edward Snowden. It's barely even about the NSA's overreach. When it's not about Greenwald and his sense of his own heroic reporting, the content consists of copies of the leaked documents (pages of powerpoint slides) and quotes by other reporters. He just arranged other people's reporting of the documents (and of himself) and he does so very repetitively. In my mind, copying and pasting is not reporting. As a whole, the book comes across more as juvenile jockeying for attention than anything else. Greenwald decries mainstream media's attempt to discredit him by calling him a blogger rather than a journalist. He may be a journalist, but if this is typical of his work, he's a bad journalist. It really does read more like a blog than investigative reporting. Given how important the topic is, I hope that someone like Jon Krakauer or Eric Schlosser will take this story on in the near future.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Christian Bauman

    Great book. So why the 3 stars instead of more? Because Greenwald, I think, forgot the WHO at the end, spending the entire second half of the book focusing solely on WHAT. That stuff was important and appreciated, but lacked the color of the first half of the book, which was a portrait of this guy Snowden as well as the tale of what he went through. Yes, the info on what was in the NSA leaks was/is important, and Greenwald's excellent commentary on it was important. But equally as important was/ Great book. So why the 3 stars instead of more? Because Greenwald, I think, forgot the WHO at the end, spending the entire second half of the book focusing solely on WHAT. That stuff was important and appreciated, but lacked the color of the first half of the book, which was a portrait of this guy Snowden as well as the tale of what he went through. Yes, the info on what was in the NSA leaks was/is important, and Greenwald's excellent commentary on it was important. But equally as important was/is the human side of the story. Greenwald makes a great case in demonstrating in the first half of the book that Snowden is not the person painted by the government and much of the mainstream media…but then he drops the ball halfway through the book. To use a clumsy analogy, it was if I was reading an Ian Fleming novel but James Bond disappeared halfway through the book and never came back. The last time we really see Snowden in this book is in Hong Kong…there is nothing about his subsequent travels to Moscow, the airport exile, and his current asylum…nothing about what we went through with that, and what he's thinking now. That bummed me out…I wanted more. But, still and all, an important book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Twerking To Beethoven

    Good book, love the style, a real page-turner. Glenn Greenwald definitely knows how to get the reader's attention, I have to give him that. As for the content of the book itself, oh well, the NSA spies on everybody so you might as well say goodbye to your privacy. Your mobs are being spied, the NSA can take control of your phone and listen to whatever you say. Not only that, Verizon and At&T are willing to hand everything over to the Agency or whatever secret service in order to keep the Nation Good book, love the style, a real page-turner. Glenn Greenwald definitely knows how to get the reader's attention, I have to give him that. As for the content of the book itself, oh well, the NSA spies on everybody so you might as well say goodbye to your privacy. Your mobs are being spied, the NSA can take control of your phone and listen to whatever you say. Not only that, Verizon and At&T are willing to hand everything over to the Agency or whatever secret service in order to keep the Nation safe. Ok, I know this is going to sound like an awful cliche but, to be perfectly candid, I don't give a rat's arse as I've got nothing to hide. Is the NSA listening to my phone convos, going through my txt's and emails, let alone what I'm typing on GR right now? Seriously, I don't care. So, anyway, three stars just because, as I said, Greenwald can write and I enjoyed the book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Caren

    The Edward Snowden leaks have been in the news for about a year now. Frankly, they were just a background part of the news that washed over me in a depressive way every day.I was one of those people the author mentions who routinely said, 'oh, my life is too boring for the government to care about'. I saw Glenn Greenwald on a talk show---I don't even remember which one now. I thought he seemed calm, well-spoken, and that he had very interesting things to say, so that, yes, I might like to read h The Edward Snowden leaks have been in the news for about a year now. Frankly, they were just a background part of the news that washed over me in a depressive way every day.I was one of those people the author mentions who routinely said, 'oh, my life is too boring for the government to care about'. I saw Glenn Greenwald on a talk show---I don't even remember which one now. I thought he seemed calm, well-spoken, and that he had very interesting things to say, so that, yes, I might like to read his book. Well, let me say, I picked it up and couldn't put it down. It was like reading a spy thriller. You could hardly imagine that this had all really happened. The first part of the book details his encounters with Snowden; the last part shows why the leaks matter to the ordinary citizen. Yes, you may be completely law-abiding and boring to the government, but the tenor of a society changes when you feel you are always being watched. Greenwald's emphasis is on the story itself and the journalistic hoops he had to jump through to publish and then defend himself, as a journalist, for those stories. He raises questions of how far a free press should be allowed to go to maintain a free society. I had no idea that the New York Times and Washington Post routinely run their stories by the government first to get clearance to publish. So, we only know what they want us the know? I find that unsettling. Of course, all journalism is really subjective, which means that having access to all sorts of voices is essential. I understand that you don't want to endanger individuals or the country, but these leaks didn't seem to do that. What they endanger is the power structure itself. I wondered, in fact, if we aren't less safe through the sheer volume of information they have gathered. Why would you want or need to know so much about every citizen? It is frightening. My criticisms of the book are that there are very many screen shots of the leaked information which are used to illustrate the author's points. I found myself skipping over them and just reading his analysis. There are an awful lot of acronyms in there. I also was very annoyed that the endnotes and index are not included in the print book, but must be accessed online. How inconvenient! Really, if I buy a book, I'd like for it all to be there! This book is also very, very focused on just the author's collection of the leaks and explanation of their significance. I felt, after reading it, that I'd like a bit more of a fleshed-out story. To that effect, I have begun Luke Harding's "The Snowden Files". It is interesting to compare his account to that of Greenwald (who was, after all, really there). He gives much more background info on Snowden though, so it seems to make for a more complete story. All in all, this has certainly made me perk up when news stories about surveillance come on.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dara

    This book was equal parts fascinating and horrifying. By now, most people are aware of the mass surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden but in No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, Glenn Greenwald goes through great pains to show why it's so deeply wrong and terrifying. The first part of the book is about Greenwald being contacted by Snowden, Greenwald's trip to Hong Kong, and the media frenzy that ensued after the first revelation was posted in The Guardian This book was equal parts fascinating and horrifying. By now, most people are aware of the mass surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden but in No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, Glenn Greenwald goes through great pains to show why it's so deeply wrong and terrifying. The first part of the book is about Greenwald being contacted by Snowden, Greenwald's trip to Hong Kong, and the media frenzy that ensued after the first revelation was posted in The Guardian (NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily). It was interesting to see things from Greenwald's perspective after having seen CitizenFour. Greenwald was initially skeptical of Snowden and what his true motives were but came to realize the truth: Snowden wasn't doing this for any selfish reasons at all. He wanted to release this information because it was necessary. Greenwald spends plenty of time going over some of the major revelations such as PRISM, Xkeyscore, and various documents on how the data collected via mass surveillance was never used to stop terrorist attacks but to score better economic deals and to spy on allies. He also talks in depth about the backlash he faced and how it affected not only himself but his partner (Glenn Greenwald's partner detained at Heathrow airport for nine hours). One of the most important chapters of the book focuses on establishment journalists' relationship with the government and Washington elite. It's clear Greenwald has deep disgust with the symbiotic and detrimental relationship there, as do I. For example, the New York Times had a story ready to go in 2004 about then president George W. Bush's illegal wiretapping program and after talking with Washington, they postponed the story for 15 months. That story was huge and would have had a major impact in the 2004 election but the NYT sat on it. I loved this book and learning more about the biggest leak in American history. Glenn Greenwald is the best journalist out there today and I am even more of a fan of his. A+

  29. 5 out of 5

    Clara

    Ed Snowden for President? I can't help feeling the world would be a better place! He and Glenn Greenwald have raised the bar of integrity, courage and sacrifice in our modern era, and they are heroes for it. No 5-star rating can possibly do justice to the importance of this book. Greenwald's arguments and revelations punch right to the core and make you step back and see the bigger picture in all its frightening clarity. Perfectly balancing the issues of mass surveillance, the role of journalism Ed Snowden for President? I can't help feeling the world would be a better place! He and Glenn Greenwald have raised the bar of integrity, courage and sacrifice in our modern era, and they are heroes for it. No 5-star rating can possibly do justice to the importance of this book. Greenwald's arguments and revelations punch right to the core and make you step back and see the bigger picture in all its frightening clarity. Perfectly balancing the issues of mass surveillance, the role of journalism, and the human aspect of the story, the book for me was impossible to put down. The opening two chapters read like something out of a spy thriller, all the more exciting for being true. Learning about the initial contact and meeting in Hong Kong is fascinating, and also revealing of character. Greenwald doesn't dwell on tabloid-type stuff, but at the same time realises that small details go a long way in painting a picture of the 29 year-old who gave up everything for the sake of what he believed in. The second half of the book moves away from the action, first to unpick the key documents themselves (the clarity with which it does this is admirable to say the least), and then to a discussion of what these documents mean for us and what they say about our governments. The book is also a rallying cry for the absolute necessity of true investigative journalism, and the bravery and importance of whistleblowers. Thank you Greenwald for living what you preach.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    "The true measure of a society's freedom is how it treats its dissidents and other marginalized groups, not how it treats good loyalists." - Greenwald Probably the most important book I will read this year. You should read it too. Every high school student should read it. This is the kind of book that should be introduced early in everyone's lives because it introduces so many important questions and awarenesses- some deeply personal, some more social/cultural. They are watching. There are more le "The true measure of a society's freedom is how it treats its dissidents and other marginalized groups, not how it treats good loyalists." - Greenwald Probably the most important book I will read this year. You should read it too. Every high school student should read it. This is the kind of book that should be introduced early in everyone's lives because it introduces so many important questions and awarenesses- some deeply personal, some more social/cultural. They are watching. There are more leaks and revelations every day that show just HOW MUCH they are watching, listening, noting. We make it easier for them when we do things like answer media accountability surveys (so f**** dumb) or even review books on Goodreads. Its not just a good plot for a movie anymore, its not HYDRA, its not the secret police of Night Vale, its not 1984- its right now, its your cell phone, its your facebook account, its you google docs, and its definitely those smart home listening devices, and really, its also probably your smart car....

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