In another turn of events relating to former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s leaked documents, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, made a phone call to President Obama on Wednesday, the 23rd of October. During the call, Merkel sought to address the alleged wiretapping of her personal cellphone by United States intelligence.
President Obama assured the chancellor that “the United States is not and will not monitor the Chancellor’s communications,” prudently omitting whether or not U.S. intelligence had ever wiretapped the chancellor’s mobile phone in the past.
This revelation was made after similar allegations were made in France on Monday. There, over the span of a month, “70.3 million recordings of French citizens’ telephone data were made by the NSA.” This, in conjunction with even more allegations of electronic espionage from Brazil, the diplomatic fit caused by the Syrian Government’s use of chemical weapons, and the U.S. government shut down that brought the global economy close to the brink of disaster, has practically shattered trans-Atlantic relations. As Merkel put it, “trust must now be established once again.”
The recent uproar from the global community is a result of the documents leaked by Edward Snowden with the aid of The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald. Snowden’s documents detailed some of the actions of the NSA, including the wide collection of personal user data pertaining to popular internet websites such as Google and Facebook as well as the broad collection of customer call data. Snowden’s leaked NSA documents continue make waves across the globe. What he has leaked has begun to cause tension in the foreign relations with the United States as well. Snowden’s information is possibly the most influential leak in U.S. history. The power of one, as IMSA students have all seen in LEAD class exemplified by the anonymous “Tank Man,” can also describe the irreversible effect Snowden has had on national and global politics in the last year.
Perhaps it is better to look at the recent commotion as simply the teething pains of the world in age of the internet, still in its infancy. In order to preserve individual privacy and national sovereignty, global policy will have to adjust to a world where everyone is connected. In accordance with this needed adjustment the Obama administration stated: “We are working to review the way that we gather intelligence to ensure that we properly balance both the security concerns of our citizens and allies with the privacy concerns that everyone shares.” A delegation of lawmakers from the European Union, including Merkel, will be flying to Washington on the 28th to talk about the recent NSA spying leaks and to demand that the U.S. sign a “no-spying” agreement with various European countries.