New York Times Op-Ed: Pardon Edward Snowden

The bylined writers hold senior positions at Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

Kenneth Roth is executive director of Human Rights Watch; Salil Shetty is the secretary general of Amnesty International. Today, on page A27 of The New York Times, they argue that the U.S. government should pardon Edward Snowden.

From the editorial:

Newspapers that published Mr. Snowden’s revelations won the Pulitzer Prize. The United Nations issued resolutions on protecting digital privacy and created a mandate to promote the right to privacy. Many technology companies, facing outrage at their apparent complicity in mass surveillance, began providing end-to-end encryption by default. Three years on, the news media still refer to Mr. Snowden and his revelations every day. His actions have brought about a dramatic increase in our awareness of the risks to our privacy in the digital age — and to the many rights that depend on privacy.

Roth and Shetty also suggest that the relevant piece of legislation in Snowden’s case, the Espionage Act of 1917, is highly outdated. Their piece arrives one day ahead of the U.S. theatrical release of Oliver Stone’s new film Snowden.

Update (Sept. 18):
The Washington Post Editorial Board has followed with a dissenting view: “Don’t Pardon Edward Snowden