PIONEERS

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden TIME 100
Barton Gellman—Getty Images

The renegade in exile

Edward Snowden’s story is one of choices. He is said to be a computer genius, but he has chosen to do what is right rather than what will enrich him, and he has chosen to do what is right rather than what is lawful. Showing a sense of great responsibility, he has exposed a global system of surveillance whose sheer dimensions are unfathomable.

This system threatens the very foundation of individual freedom throughout the world. And it threatens the basis upon which our democracies are built. Cynically, it does so by undermining and exploiting the very tools of communication and sharing that are meant to enable, engage and enrich us.

Snowden has given us a window of opportunity in which to make an informed, self-determined choice about this system. Our responsibility is to make sure it will not be the last choice we make. We must not waste time—for his sake, for ours and for the sake of our children. Our future is at stake.

Domscheit-Berg, a German technology activist, is a former spokesman for WikiLeaks

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