Edward Snowden and David Simon Go Head-to-Head on Surveillance

Edward Snowden and David Simon Go Head-to-Head on Surveillance

How you feel about Twitter’s 10th anniversary is probably a directly function of to how many people you’ve had to block, but there’s no question the site enables conversations that otherwise wouldn’t take place, at least not where we could see them. Case in point: An exchange between Edward Snowden and “The Wire’s” David Simon on the ethics of government surveillance.

The impetus was a tweet citing a report that ISIS relies less on encrypted communication than on disposable cellphones — the “burners” which were frequently used by Baltimore’s drug dealers in later seasons of “The Wire.” The sides break down more or less as you’d expect, with Snowden sounding the alarm, and Simon, a former journalist who worked closely with the Baltimore police, maintaining that “coms are an elemental investigative avenue.” But it’s a worthwhile back-and-forth, getting down to the nitty-gritty of just how far the precedent set by the landmark decision in “Smith v. Maryland” goes. And it’s worth pointing out that the entire discussion takes place in a civil and forthright manner, with no personal attacks or off-kilter insinuations. All Twitter disagreements should be so easy on the eyes.

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