Since Edward Snowden took flight after leaking a trove of secret National Security Agency (NSA) documents, the story of US surveillance around the world has grown wings of its own, currently darkening skies in Europe after stopovers in Latin America.
The latest wave of releases were to the German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel and the French left-leaning daily Le Monde, detailing a metadata sweep across millions of phone calls in France and accusations that a tap was placed on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Blackberry.
Neither was the controversy limited to Europe, with spying revelations causing a bump in US ties with Mexico and Brazil. The UK’s Guardian newspaper capped off the week with a report that 35 world leaders had been spied on by the US.
The diplomatic tremors are the result of a purposeful media strategy. Rather than dumping the mass of data on the internet, the custodians of Snowden’s leaks – chief among them Brazil-based investigative reporter Glenn Greenwald – have used journalistic collaborations and a methodical drip-feed of high-impact information.
The tactic has helped sustain the momentum of the broad debate on surveillance and the overreach of security practices into our private lives.
To discuss continuing global impact of the Snowden files, we speak to Le Monde editor Alain Franchon; Julian Borger, the diplomatic editor for the Guardian; national security journalist and author Shane Harris; and roving correspondent for Time Magazine, Vivienne Walt.
Our Newsbytes this week: The Chinese government begins mandatory training for all journalists; the editor at one of India’s top newspapers departs amid acrimony; and a White House insider is fired for “bringing the snark” to the Beltway via an anonymous Twitter account.
Our feature this week looks at a controversial trend in photojournalism. With the power that photographers have to digitally develop their work, what are the ethical implications of enhancing the impact of images? The issue was one that gripped this year’s World Press Photo awards whose top prize went to a photo that was accused of being a composite. The Listening Post‘s Nicholas Muirhead looks between the pixels.
For our video of the week we return to 2004 when the American Civil Liberties Union looked into their crystal ball to imagine what a world of mass surveillance and Big Brother-like monitoring might look when ordering a pizza in 2015. Given what we know now courtesy of Edward Snowden we will forgive them for being a few months out on the date.
Listening Post can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0830, 1930; Sunday: 1430; Monday: 0430.
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