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Twitter got a bit of a shock on September 29 when privacy activist and whistleblower Edward Snowden joined the social network. Apparently even he knows everyone needs Twitter in their lives.
Can you hear me now?
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) September 29, 2015
Snowden, of course, is the man who leaked classified information that the US National Security Agency (NSA) is involved in unauthorized global surveillance of user data. It was a major intrusion into people’s privacy, and the NSA itself has been flip-flopping on its stance on is Snowden a hero or a villain.
As far as the global public at large is concerned, Snowden has turned into a folk hero who exposed a truth about their privacy. He has since become a spokesman for the issue of privacy in the digital age, and is the Director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation.
But Snowden is hardly the only privacy advocate on Twitter, or the world’s leading authority on the subject. The social network has several prominent voices who care about user data and how to protect it, and it’s in your best interest to follow these people…
Tweets by @granick
Granick is the Director of Civil Liberties at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society. The acclaimed lawyer has defended some of the most notorious hackers and was even the keynote speaker at this year’s Black Hat security conference. She is one of the leading authorities in the world about privacy law, both in the US and outside. Granick’s Twitter feed is mostly filled with retweets, but she does voice her concerns about important issues and her linked short essays will serve to expand your understanding of privacy in the digital age.
Tweets by @JustinBrookman
Brookman is a retweet machine, but the best kind of retweet machine. He is now the Policy Director at the US Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Office of Technology, Research, and Investigation. But his former life as a privacy activist often comes through in his retweets, as he can’t help but highlight the things you should be reading to be better aware of how your private data is being affected or used by the technology around you.
Tweets by @jilliancyork
Talking about privacy does not need to be boring, and York is the perfect example of that. She uses simple language and humor to put forth insightful points about digital privacy—interspersed with several of the zany tweets that make Twitter what it is. York also works with the Electronics Frontier Foundation, one of the most important digital groups around.
Tweets by @pranesh_prakash
Policy Director at the Center for Internet & Society in India, Pranesh has been at the forefront of digital privacy conversations across the world. Because the gamut of topics he covers is much wider than just privacy, his tweets have a way of providing context to goings-on in the digital world that supplement how you will think about privacy.
Tweets by @hoofnagle
Information and services on the Internet are free, right? Wrong, says UC Berkeley Law researcher and lecturer Chris Hoofnagle. “Free” Internet still involves a transaction, he argues, where you are buying access to services and information by giving your private data, whether you know it or not. We already know that Facebook is tracking you even if you don’t use it. How else is your privacy being used as currency? Follow Hoofnagle to find out.
Tweets by @ncardozo
Nate Cardozo is the Staff Attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the makers of the Privacy Badger extension to block online tracking. Cardozo also makes the EFF’s “Who Has Your Back?” report, which tracks big technology firms and services and how openly they give your data to the government when asked. He is one of the world’s experts on electronic privacy law, which is becoming more and more relevant every day.
One of the earliest privacy advocates, Davies founded Privacy International in 1990 and has been leading the conversation on digital privacy for decades. His blog, Privacy Surgeon, is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the subject, and his Twitter feed serves as a link repository as well as discussion leads for several privacy-related topics.
Bonus: Glenn Greenwald
Tweets by @ggreenwald
Finally, follow the journalist who helped Snowden leak his information. Glenn Greenwald is a reporter with The Intercept, and originally wrote the exposé that shot Snowden into the limelight. Greenwald links to privacy and digital rights news from across the world, and is an expert at offering political commentary on it.
What Do You Think About Snowden?
— George E. Pataki (@GovernorPataki) September 29, 2015
Not everyone is a fan of Snowden, as US Presidential candidate George Pataki’s tweet shows. What are your views on Snowden, and especially about him joining Twitter? Do you think it speaks to Twitter’s safety, compared to other social networks like Facebook and Google+?