back to article Super-leaker Snowden punts free PDF* of tell-all NSA book with censored parts about China restored, underlined

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has released a free, uncensored version of his autobiography for Chinese readers – after Beijing's censors scribbled out all the parts mentioning the Great Firewall in the official version. Snowden's bestseller Permanent Record is now available as a free download in Chinese after Communist …

  1. elDog

    Based on the last para it sounds like we should stop complaining, assume the sheeple position

    "In recent years, Western countries have begun taking steps towards deploying Chinese-style mass surveillance, perhaps having been inspired, rather than discouraged, by Snowden's actions. ®"

    If we become whistle-blowers, or even people of conscience, then the "authorities" will use our personal freedoms as a indication that they should become more authoritarian. Typical way the weak governments terrorise their populations.

    1. FozzyBear Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Based on the last para it sounds like we should stop complaining, assume the sheeple position

      Nope, never going to happen.

      I aim to misbehave!

      1. Mike 16 Silver badge

        Re: I aim to misbehave!

        Until your phone pings and you open it to see a photo of your child dangling over a tank full of sharks with friggin lasers. Pretty much everybody over-estimates their own capacity for acting bravely (and effectively) against a better provisioned set of villains.

        Historically, we know about the ones who actually did, because they were rare, and thus noteworthy.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I aim to misbehave!

          We've all seen too many movies - in your scenario we would have to assume that they would kill our loved ones even if we capitulated.

          At which point the nerds would turn their high IQ's to rather more nefarious purposes and probably becomes more like the people they are standing up against in order to fight them.

          Not a great scenario for anyone involved - I recommend a doughnut and toasted marshmallows peace conference.

      2. Muscleguy Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Based on the last para it sounds like we should stop complaining, assume the sheeple position

        Latecomer. I have been misbehaving since I started voting SNP and then campaigning in our first indyref (The SNP sensibly removed Scotland’s sedition laws in advance). Oh yes, and I joined Scottish CND. Between our Yes vote and us leaving the Union I intend to ask the spooks for a copy of anything they hold on me, just for the lolz.

        People far more harmless to the national interest have files so I damn well should have one as well.

        Icon for the obvious reasons. We need a raised revolutionary fist icon or maybe just a raised middle finger one.

        To the boys, girls and delusional others at our equivalent of Langley: keep banging the keyboards guys, we dinnae care up here, d’ye ken?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Based on the last para it sounds like we should stop complaining, assume the sheeple position

        Ain't gonna happen to me either. I have completely disconnected from the Internet. You are not reading this now. Go away.

  2. Brian Miller Silver badge

    3.6Mb download, copy, paste, read

    No problem, I can't speak or read Chinese, but I can download a 3.6Mb file, open it, copy and paste into Google Translate, and then read it just fine. Takes a little bit of effort, but not that much.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: 3.6Mb download, copy, paste, read

      Google Translate? Good Heavens, no!

      This sort of document needs to be translated with Baidu Translate!

    2. HildyJ Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: 3.6Mb download, copy, paste, read

      Or you could just borrow the English language edition of the book from your library.

      1. Barrie Shepherd

        Re: 3.6Mb download, copy, paste, read

        ".........just borrow the English language edition of the book from your library."

        Gee I wonder how many silent alarm messages get sent to various governmental authorities when anyone asks for the book at the local library?

        I'll put my tin foil hat on and check but I bet there is not a copy on the shelf at my local library:-)

        1. CRConrad

          Re: bet rhere is no copy

          Mine has it in three languages.

          1. Spanners Silver badge
            Black Helicopters

            Re: bet rhere is no copy

            Mine has it as a 11hour and 32minute audiobook.

            Just added it to my "reading list" in BorrowBox.

        2. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: 3.6Mb download, copy, paste, read

          "Gee I wonder how many silent alarm messages get sent to various governmental authorities when anyone asks for the book at the local library?"

          Knowing librarians, none.

        3. Muscleguy Silver badge

          Re: 3.6Mb download, copy, paste, read

          I’ve just checked, the Central library here in Dundee has a copy (we still have a network of suburban libraries). I might go get it out. As above I dinnae care, they can add the thought crime to my file.

      2. osakajin Bronze badge

        Re: 3.6Mb download, copy, paste, read

        What libraries? Oh so thats why austerity shut them all.

    3. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
      Pirate

      Re: 3.6Mb download, copy, paste, read

      The full English version is available from *certain* nautical themed websites, I'm told.

      Arr, shiver me timbers and all that.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Barry Rueger

    Across America, confusion peaks

    Damn that Snowden! He's just a commie traitor who should be prosecuted and shot!

    Except now he's attacking our sworn, Huawei supporting, enemies the commie Chinese, so he's a hero!

    Except he's doing that by telling them super-secret American spy stuff, so he's.... um ... A traitor-hero?

    Ouch. My head hurts. Can I just ignore this and watch Apprentice reruns instead?

    1. TimMaher Bronze badge

      Apprentice reruns.

      Trump or Alan Sugar?

    2. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: Across America, confusion peaks

      Hey look on the bright side, they haven’t got him in a confected sex crime scam yet. Assange should have flown East instead of West from Sweden.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe Snowden is the trinity of China, Russia and the USA? There would have been some point where people worked out about the monitoring so why not have some stooge take a fall to deflect from it all like he keeps doing? Anyone got some tin foil? I've run out.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A good read

    Just finished Permanent Record (borrowed from the USENET). A few excerpts that stood out to me:

    ---

    A "whistleblower," in my definition, is a person who through hard experience has concluded that their life inside an institution has become incompatible with the principles developed in - and the loyalty owed to - the greater society outside it, to which that institution should be accountable.

    ---

    America's fundamental laws exist to make the job of law enforcement not easier, but harder. This isn't a bug, it's a core feature of democracy.

    ---

    Fully 50 percent of the Bill of Rights were intended to make the job of law enforcement harder. The Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Amendments were all deliberately, carefully designed to create inefficiencies and hamper the government's ability to exercise its power and conduct surveillance.

    ---

    The constitutional system only functions as a whole if and when each of its three branches work as intended. When all three don't just fail, but fail deliberately and with coordination, the result is a culture of impunity.

    ---

    The program's very existence was an indication that the agency's mission had been transformed, from using technology to defend America to using technology to control it by redefining citizens' private internet communications as potential signals intelligence.

    ---

    From the vantage of the corporate boardroom, contracting functions as governmentally assisted corruption. It's America's most legal and convenient method of transferring public money to the private purse.

    ---

    Put simply, a world in which every law is always enforced would be a world in which everyone was a criminal.

    ---

    In an authoritarian state, rights derive from the state and are granted to the people. In a free state, rights derive from the people and are granted to the state.

    ---

    It's this clash, between the authoritarian and the liberal democratic, that I believe to be the major ideological conflict of my time -- not some concocted, prejudiced notion of an East-West divide, or of a resurrected crusade against Christendom or Islam.

    ---

    Because a citizenry's freedoms are interdependent, to surrender your own privacy is really to surrender everyone's.

    1. David Glasgow

      Re: A good read

      Wish I had written any one of these.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A good read

      The US constitution was written precisely to prevent the abuse of power Trump is now exercising.

      Those officials who have sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies are born again liars.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: A good read

        Citing the chief gimp in charge (whoever that might be at any particular point in time) appears to be entirely irrelevant is these types of conversation.

      2. Marshalltown

        Re: A good read

        Not just Trump, though he's a rank example. One of the great failures in US jurisprudence is that money has been allowed to talk, and thanks to that, fictive (corporate) entities are allowed "civil rights" comparable to an individual's. The important thing about the Bill of Rights is that it is directed at hampering ANY form of intrusion into "individual" rights, even when the wording specifies "people." People collectively lack any "natural rights" not allowed to individuals. This is important because it is not directed just at "the government," but against any form of government, and that includes democracies, not just absolutists. This was one strong reason the US was constructed as a republic rather than a outright democracy such as ancient Athens. It could have been and the authors of the key documents were all very well educated in these areas.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          "was constructed as a republic rather than a outright democracy"

          Do you know where the word "republic" comes from? Well, it wasn't too the kind of "republic" you think about. Already in the XVIII century the idea of "democracy" was not the one Pericles could think about.

          Not surprisingly, 1835 Toqueville book is "De La Démocratie en Amérique"...

          Read it, instead of random internet sites...

    3. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: A good read

      “In a free state, rights derive from the people and are granted to the state.”

      We have just had the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath which helped inform the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the US thanks to the informed Scots who helped in both.

      Note Scotland’s Claim of Right derived from the Declaration was passed without any dissenting votes in the House of Commons recently. Bear that in mind as our chimp leader demonstrates he is no democrat in denying it to us.

      So long as 100 of us remain alive prime minister, so long as 100 of us.

      Those days are past now

      And in the past they must remain

      But we can still rise now

      And be that nation again.

      We will stand against you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A good read

        "700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath which helped inform the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the US thanks to the informed Scots who helped in both."

        All adherents to the Scottish Rite, amiright?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    America had a choice

    America could have admitted that Snowden was a whistle blower, protected by the law, and he would have returned to America and the Americans would have had control over the fallout from the revelations. The only part of Snowden's release that was new was the way it was done but even that was openly discussed in many circles prior to his disclosures - I just wasn't aware of the full scale of it, but a lot of us knew it was going on.

    Instead America decided to hound him and as a result he had no choice except to run to Russia, where the US prevented him from leaving - so it's the US that's driven him into Russia, it wasn't his choice at all.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: America had a choice

      I wonder if the US pushed him to Russia for a reason? Maybe they were worried about what else would become public if Snowden returned to the West? As a result now probably the Russians are the only ones who know and they are keeping it under wraps.

      Paranoia strikes deep, into your life it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid, step out of line, the men come and take you away - Buffalo Springfield

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Torrented it, sharing it. Just in case.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But isn't the big guy in America a Russian stooge?

    So confused.

    Russians are bad.

    Russians are good.

    Russians are bad.

    Etc...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But isn't the big guy in America a Russian stooge?

      Name one good thing Trump has done for Russia.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But isn't the big guy in America a Russian stooge?

        OK

        Encouraging Russia to sway the US election to better their own interests.

        How's that?

      2. Psmo Silver badge

        Re: But isn't the big guy in America a Russian stooge?

        Off the top of my head:

        • Singing from the Russian hymnbook on the role and character of Europe.
        • Undermining the Ukrainian government to allow Russian occupation of the Crimean peninsula to continue
        • Withdrawing from Syria, leaving Russia the major player in the area.

        1. MiguelC Silver badge
        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: But isn't the big guy in America a Russian stooge?

          1. How is it _tangibly_ good for Russia, again? What is that "hymnbook", anyway?

          2. Here's a hypothetical: what would a "non-undermined" Ukrainian government do to stop, as you put it, the occupation of Crimean peninsula? Has Ukraine ever had a government like that?

          3. Have you ever heard of Turkey and Israel? Just in case you haven't — these are two countries neighboring Syria, occupying portions of it, and bombing the hell out of the Syrians on a regular basis. And Russia cannot do anything about it at all.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: But isn't the big guy in America a Russian stooge?

          And, of course, the US don't do any such occupation at all, no ma'am. The US troops just "secure the oil" in parts of Syria.

      3. Scott 26
        Joke

        Re: But isn't the big guy in America a Russian stooge?

        > Name one good thing Trump has done for Russia.

        The aqueduct?

      4. Marshalltown

        Re: But isn't the big guy in America a Russian stooge?

        Money laundering. You want to remember who really runs Russia, it isn't just Putin.

    2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: But isn't the big guy in America a Russian stooge?

      I think the Russians are just pulling the strings on a puppet. I doubt the Trump is aware of it at all ... never mistake malice for incompetence.

      1. Marshalltown

        Re: But isn't the big guy in America a Russian stooge?

        Trump has been associated with organized crime since the seventies. Back then it was the New York gangs. Later as he "diversified" the names he associated with took on more of a Bratva ring.

  10. Spanners Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    One day...

    At some point in the future, if we get there, Snowden will will be seen as a patriot, defender of democracy and the US constitution.

    The unknowable part is just what we will have to put up with first.

    Think of the children because if it isn't fixed by the time today's children reach adulthood, it will be a matter of study for archaeologists.

  11. ukgnome

    Amateur

    I have this book but became paranoid so scanned the text and then converted it to binary, haven't read it all yet - currently on page 01100101 01110000 01110011 01110100 01100101 01101001 01101110 00100000 01100100 01101001 01100100 01101110 00100111 01110100 00100000 01101011 01101001 01101100 01101100 00100000 01101000 01101001 01101101 01110011 01100101 01101100 01100110

  12. Muscleguy Silver badge

    Ed Snowden is clearly a hero. A fairly ordinary geek who found himself in the middle of something bigger than himself then stateless in a Moscow airport hotel. He ended up in Russia not by choice but by necessity. I think the Russians need some credit in not just allowing him to stay but tolerating his continuing activities.

    the best heroes are not those muscle bound warriors but ordinary people who do brave things because they are necessary and/or the right thing to do.

    I had a brief taste of it once. ’twas the winter after 9/11 and I was standing in the Scottish evening dark at a temporary central city bus stop. Just myself, a mild mannered scientist and a young soberly dressed woman in a headscarf. A drunk little old man came whiffling up the road waving an empty bottle, he clocked the young woman then started giving her a mouthful of Islamophobic abuse, calling her a terrorist etc. I told him to shut it and he rounded on me, waved his bottle in my face and threatened to ‘glass’ me. I drew myself up to my 6’, broad shouldered height and loomed at him. He blinked and suddenly it was ‘big man’ this and ‘big man’ that and trying to be my friend. I studiously ignored him and he grumbled off and fortunately didn’t get on our bus which arrived then.

    Note I have lived back here since Dec ’98 and that is the only threat of violence I have received in all that time. This includes having campaigned all over including the supposed ‘sink’ estates for Yes in our indyref in my middle class clothes (festooned with badges and carrying a clipboard). Dundee has its issues but it’s still a nice city with nice people.

    1. grizewald

      Well said!

      Ed Snowden is indeed a real hero.

      The man has given up everything and put his life at risk to do what his conscience told him was right. He confirmed what many of us already suspected but few had any idea of the depth and breadth of the USA and Five Eyes surveillance machine.

      His revelations confirmed the fact that the governments of the world view the electorate as their subjects, that they no longer understand what "public servant" means, and worst of all, that they really couldn't care less what any of their subjects think about it.

      The most disturbing thing that Snowdens revelations have revealed is the utter apathy that most people have to how their government behaves. The same 'having your vote' play for the gallery continues. Far too many people spend their lives in the fantasy world of television. Most importantly, the governments of the world are perfectly aware of the fact that your average man couldn't give a toss about what the government does as long as there's a glib explanation. They know that there are not enough people who see how corrupt and broken the system is to anything about it. And so the politicians increasingly treat the people with contempt because they can.

      Things will only get worse.

      I'm just about to start reading the book. I hope I can find some answers in there as to how Ed Snowden feels about how little concrete effects his revelations have had and what he thinks of the apathy most people show towards these and other burning issues.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      "I think the Russians need some credi"

      Why? Those revelation fits well the Putin plan to assert that a non-democratic authoritariian government is perfectly fine, because all democratic ones are corrupted.

      Of course Putin deals with Russian whisleblowers in a very different, and more lethal, way.

  13. xero

    The Library of Congress thru nls makes Permanent Record freely available

    to those who can't read print.One can download or get in the mail. Permanent

    Record is interesting about his early childhood but somewhat boring when he

    "lectures" in the later parts of the book.What is interesting, is Snowden's distaste

    for Assange. I never knew he felt that strongly about Assange before. It must have

    been difficult working with Sarah Harrison.

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