December 27, 2013
2013 will be remembered as the year Edward Snowden changed everything we know about the scope of U.S. surveillance practices. The former National Security Agency contractor leaked classified documents to The Guardian and the Washington Post before fleeing the country first for Hong Kong and then Russia.
By now the revelations about the government’s snooping are well known. Six months after the first media reports were published, a federal judge ruled that the government’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records likely violates the Constitution. Days later, a presidential advisory panel recommended new limits on NSA surveillance powers, including an end to the phone records program.
The government still doesn’t know how many more secrets may yet surface from Snowden’s leak. Here, a look back on what we learned this year about how the super-secret agency has been gathering intel about phone and internet activity in the U.S. and around the world.