Research Online

Logo

Goldsmiths - University of London

Useful idiots or Big Brother’s antidote? Analysing the ethical role of the state, Guardian and Edward Snowden in the controversy over surveillance and whistle-blowing.

Crook, Tim. 2015. Useful idiots or Big Brother’s antidote? Analysing the ethical role of the state, Guardian and Edward Snowden in the controversy over surveillance and whistle-blowing. Ethical Space, 12(3/4), pp. 14-24. ISSN 1742-0105 [Article]

[img] Text (Useful idiots or Big Brother’s antidote? Analysing the ethical role of the state)
UsefulIdiotsorBigBrother'sAntidoteacceptedversion.doc - Accepted Version
Permissions: GRO Registered Users Only
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (130kB)

Abstract or Description

This paper takes a critical approach to the Guardian’s coverage and the British secret state’s position on the revelations by Edward Snowden of global surveillance by the NSA and GCHQ. It contextualises the issues and events with reference to intelligence conflicts from the past. How does the position of the Guardian, its former journalist Glenn Greenwald and the source Edward Snowden compare to the ‘useful idiot’ syndrome of the 1930s? This was the tendency of some British journalists and public figures to not recognise the true nature of Joseph Stalin’s regime in the Soviet Union. The analysis focuses on the trend for state surveillance bodies, whistle-blowers, and their receiving journalists and publishers to each claim the moral high ground of public interest. The tension remains a struggle between those who claim to be protecting national security and those who claim to be protecting individual privacy and seeking to expose alleged abuse of state power through excessive surveillance and electronic intrusion. The opposite sides in this debate appear to delegitimise each other’s ethical authority. The paper concludes that in the absence of clear evidence of impact it is difficult to prove which side has been responsible for damaging or indeed improving the public good.

Item Type:

Article

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies

Dates:

DateEvent
30 December 2015Published
11 November 2015Accepted

Item ID:

18664

Date Deposited:

05 Jul 2016 07:43

Last Modified:

27 Jun 2017 13:51

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/18664

View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)