Scott Shane reports: For an international fugitive hiding out in Russia from American espionage charges, Edward J. Snowden gets around.
May has been another month of virtual globe-hopping for Mr. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, with video appearances so far at Princeton and in a “distinguished speakers” series at Stanford and at conferences in Norway and Australia. Before the month is out, he is scheduled to speak by video to audiences in Italy, and also in Ecuador, where there will be a screening of “Citizenfour,” the Oscar-winning documentary about him.
But there have been far more consequential victories for Mr. Snowden’s cause two years after he flew from Hawaii to Hong Kong carrying laptops loaded with N.S.A. secrets.
Two weeks ago, a federal appeals court ruled that the first N.S.A. program he disclosed, which collects the phone call records of millions of Americans, is illegal. Last week, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to transform the program by keeping the bulk phone records out of government hands, a change President Obama has endorsed and the Senate is now debating. And Apple and Google have angered the F.B.I. by stepping up encryption, including on smartphones, to scramble communications and protect customers from the kind of government surveillance Mr. Snowden exposed. [Continue reading…]