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258 Edward Snowden: Permanent Record

Edward Snowden’s memoir of his time working for the NSA, his decision to leak classified information, and the aftermath.

Edward Snowden: Permanent Record


In "Permanent Record," Edward Snowden recounts his life story, including his time working for the NSA and his decision to leak classified information about the government's surveillance programs to the press. He provides insights into the surveillance programs that were previously unknown to the public and discusses his motivation for exposing them. Snowden also covers the personal consequences he faced for his actions and reflects on the state of government surveillance and privacy in the digital age.


Title: Permanent Record

Author: Edward Snowden

Publishing Year: 2019

Publisher: Metropolitan Books

Length in Hours: 11 hours and 31 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. Snowden's background and motivations for working in the intelligence community
  2. The inner workings of the NSA's surveillance programs and Snowden's decision to leak classified information to the press
  3. The personal and legal consequences that Snowden faced for his actions
  4. The broader societal implications of government surveillance and the importance of privacy in the digital age
  5. The potential for reform and the need for greater transparency and accountability in 
  6. government surveillance programs
Edward Snowden: Permanent Record

5 funny quotes

  1. "I was a bad spy."
  2. "The little government nerd in me rejoiced."
  3. "I never had any aspirations to join the military."
  4. "I had a terrible crush on her. The mere thought of her sent my heart racing and my palms sweating."
  5. "Eventually, I learned to act like a normal human being again."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say."
  2. "I realized the lengths governments go to keep secrets."
  3. "As I sat there on the edge of my bed, staring at the glowing computer screen, I knew one thing for sure: My life was never going to be the same."
  4. "The most powerful institution in human history, one that has survived and weathered all manner of political upheaval, has never been a state or a church. It is the family."
  5. "My hope is that the revelations contained within this book will spark a public debate about the rights of individuals in a digital age."

5 dilemmas

  1. The tension between privacy and national security, and the difficult choices that must be made to balance these values
  2. The ethical dilemma of whistleblowing and the risks and consequences that come with it
  3. The challenges of living a life on the run, with limited options for travel, communication, and social interaction
  4. The dilemma of family loyalty versus loyalty to the state or to a higher cause
  5. The dilemma of how to be a responsible citizen in a digital age, where our data is constantly being collected and used in ways we may not understand or approve of.

5 examples

  1. Booz Allen Hamilton - the consulting firm where Snowden worked as a contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA)
  2. Mark Zuckerberg - founder and CEO of Facebook, which Snowden criticizes for its handling of user privacy
  3. Julian Assange - founder of Wikileaks, which published many of the classified documents Snowden leaked
  4. Eric Schmidt - former CEO of Google, which Snowden also criticizes for its handling of user privacy
  5. Laura Poitras - documentary filmmaker who worked with Snowden to document his leaks and his story

Referenced books

  1. "1984" by George Orwell
  2. "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley
  3. "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power" by Shoshana Zuboff
  4. "No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State" by Glenn Greenwald
  5. "Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World" by Bruce Schneier

Share a quote

"Eventually, I learned to act like a normal human being again."

Edward Snowden: Permanent Record
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