@Pseudoid: Some mornings, I feel like Snowden was a public hero, but other mornings I wake up thinking that he may be pushing the envelop a bit too far.
I simply don't know what to think. On the one hand I worry about the "big brother" scenario. On the other hand I really don't care if the NSA has the ability to see who I've called and when I called them.
Similarly, on the one hand I think it's useful to know what one's government is doing. On the other hand i think it's a stupid idea to (a) tell the naughty people what we are capable of and (b) tell our friends that we are spying on them. With regard to the latter, they are also spying on us -- their "outrage" is mostly for their own people -- they had to be "outraged" once this was made public.
I would have been more impressed with Snowdon if he had stayed here and said "I did what I thought was right" -- but that's easy for me to say.
As they say, don't judge someone unless you've walked a mile in their shoes (by which time you are a mile away and you have their shoes!)
Regarding Snowden, in my mind it is very clear. He took a legally and morally binding oath and he broke it. He is a criminal under the laws of the U.S. Even if you accept extenuating circumstances (i.e. the government was doing evil things) he had the option to report from within rather than go public. My opinion is that he is a self-aggrandizing jerk, but there is no law against that.
Actually, I'm pretty confident that the China is not strictly the innocent victim here. There is a very comprehensive report at http://intelreport.mandiant.com/ that details what has been coming from that side. The point is that more effort needs to be expended in terms of defense from these kinds of intrusions rather than inventing new ones. As Susan pointed out, these kinds of exploits make it hard to lecture authoritatively on morality.
@Junko, none of the governments is going to come out with truth especially when the stakes are high. There are news about US spying on others vice versa (however small or large). This is truely cold war days revisited with the only difference is that China is slowly replacing Russia.
@junko.yashida >> Yes, my head hurts too! These ongoing "Bit-Wars" are just going to continue escalating with no stop in sight. And they cannot and should not and will not stop. "Net Neutrality" issues are such small potatoes compared with these ongoing events. Some mornings, I feel like Snowden was a public hero, but other mornings I wake up thinking that he may be pushing the envelop a bit too far. Even if I could only use 10% of my brain power to make sense out of the current world around us, buying aspirin by the crate-full is not going to stop the thumping inside my cranial! Argh!