Edward Snowden, duh.
Time’s Person of the Year is supposed to be the person who “most influenced the news this year for better or worse.”
The magazine isn’t joking about considering controversial people. Past recipients include Stalin twice, Hitler, and Ayatollah Khomeini.
Other odd recipients include “The Protester,” “You,” and “The Computer.”
This year Snowden is leading in the online polling, though the final selection is made by Time.
Other contenders include Bashar Al-Assad, Miley Cyrus, and Vladimir Putin all chasing India’s Narendra Modi for second.
Haven’t heard of Modi? He’s the leading contender for Prime Minister in the world’s second largest democracy, and he lives frugally, writes poetry, and doesn’t eat meat — though he has also recently been accused of using state surveillance capabilities to track the habits of a young Indian woman.
So, yes, in in terms of shaking up the world, Snowden is uniquely qualified.
The former NSA contractor who made off with up to 200,000 secret documents helped expose the degree to which the America spies on Americans and everyone else. Some celebrate him as a champion for civil liberties. Others criticise him for exposing and thereby weakening America’s national security infrastructure.
More importantly, his actions, regardless of opinions, have made people realise that the Internet is not just for Tumblr and tweets. The Internet can be a weapon, and those people who use it most, its stakeholders, should have a word in deciding its fate.
Snowden helped show how that fate is largely decided behind closed doors.
Love him, hate him, or both, the choice here is simple.
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