X

Snowden and surveillance in America (pictures)

Here is a timeline of events in the uncovering of America's domestic surveillance programs.

Laura Hautala
Laura Hautala
Laura Hautala
Laura wrote about e-commerce and Amazon, and she occasionally covered cool science topics. Previously, she broke down cybersecurity and privacy issues for CNET readers. Laura is based in Tacoma, Washington, and was into sourdough before the pandemic.
james-martin-profile-crop
james-martin-profile-crop
James Martin Managing Editor, Photography
James Martin is the Managing Editor of Photography at CNET. His photos capture technology's impact on society - from the widening wealth gap in San Francisco, to the European refugee crisis and Rwanda's efforts to improve health care. From the technology pioneers of Google and Facebook, photographing Apple's Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Google's Sundar Pichai, to the most groundbreaking launches at Apple and NASA, his is a dream job for any documentary photography and journalist with a love for technology. Exhibited widely, syndicated and reprinted thousands of times over the years, James follows the people and places behind the technology changing our world, bringing their stories and ideas to life.
Expertise photojournalism, portrait photography, behind-the-scenes Credentials
  • 2021 Graphis Photography Awards, Gold Award, Journalism, 'The Doorway' Graphis Photography Awards, Silver Award, Portrait, 'Cast of film '1917'' Graphis Photography Awards, Silver Award, Environmental, 'Upper Lola Montez' ND Awards, Architecture, 'Taj Mah
Laura Hautala
James Martin
gettyimages-53261497.jpg
1 of 15 JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

October 26, 2001

October 26, 2001 -- President George W. Bush signs the USA Patriot Act into law.

gettyimages-80229344.jpg
2 of 15 Brendan Smialowski, Getty Images

July 10, 2008

July 10, 2008 -- President George W. Bush signs the FISA Amendments Act into law.

gettyimages-484174249.jpg
3 of 15 Andrew Burton, Getty Images

December 1, 2012

December 1, 2012 -- Edward Snowden reaches out to Glenn Greenwald using the pseudonym "Cincinnatus," urging Greenwald to set up a secure communication channel. Greenwald ignores him and the two don't connect until Snowden appeals to Laura Poitras. Snowden and Greenwald begin communicating about NSA programs by April 2013.

gettyimages-459251249.jpg
4 of 15 Barton Gellman, Getty Images

May 20, 2013

May 20, 2013 -- Edward Snowden flies to Hong Kong after taking a leave of absence from his job at Booz Allen Hamilton, a contractor to the NSA. Greenwald and Poitras followed soon after, as did Guardian investigative reporter Ewen MacAskill.

gettyimages-170116920.jpg
5 of 15 Spencer Platt, Getty Images

June 5, 2013

June 5, 2013 -- The Guardian and The Washington Post publish reports on a secret court order requiring Verizon to hand over all customer call records.

Prism collection details
6 of 15 NSA

June 6, 2013

June 6, 2013 -- The Guardian and The Washington Post publish reports revealing the Prism program, which lets the National Security Agency grab people's emails, video chats, photos and documents from some of the world's biggest tech companies. The companies denied giving the NSA unfettered access to such data.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/06/us-tech-giants-nsa-data

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/us-intelligence-mining-data-from-nine-us-internet-companies-in-broad-secret-program/2013/06/06/3a0c0da8-cebf-11e2-8845-d970ccb04497_story.html

screen-shot-2016-05-27-at-11-10-00-am.png
7 of 15 Screenshot

June 9, 2013

June 9, 2013 -- Snowden goes public in a video posted to The Guardian website.

edward-snowdon-1.jpg
8 of 15 James Martin

June 21, 2013

June 21, 2013 -- Snowden turns 30 years old. The US Department of Justice unseals charges against him for violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and theft of government property

gettyimages-459781894.jpg
9 of 15 PONTUS LUNDAHL/AFP/Getty Images

June 23, 2013

June 23, 2013 -- Snowden flees to Moscow, where he remains today.

Here, Snowden is shown on a livestream during the Right Livelihood Award ceremony at the Swedish Parliament on December 1, 2014. He was awarded the Right Livelihood Honorary Award for revealing the extent of state surveillance.

ladar-levison-cnet-5983.jpg
10 of 15 James Martin/CNET

August 8, 2013

August 8, 2013 -- Lavabit, an encrypted email service used by Edward Snowden, ceases operations rather than allow the government to intercept and decrypt its users' messages.

Here, Lavabit founder Ladar Levison is interviewed by CNET News' Declan McCullough at CBS Interactive headquarters in San Francisco, Calif., on October 27, 2013.

screen-shot-2016-05-27-at-11-33-10-am.png
11 of 15 Google Maps

May 19, 2014

May 19, 2014 -- Greenwald, Poitras and Ryan Devereaux, a reporter for The Intercept, report the NSA is recording every phone call in the Bahamas and another nation, but decline to name that country because they say it would incite violence. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says the unnamed country is Afghanistan, causing a public argument between The Intercept and WikiLeaks on Twitter.

https://theintercept.com/2014/05/19/data-pirates-caribbean-nsa-recording-every-cell-phone-call-bahamas/

http://www.newsweek.com/intercept-wouldnt-reveal-country-us-spying-so-wikileaks-did-instead-252320

gettyimages-519238736.jpg
12 of 15 Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

June 30, 2014

June 30, 2014 -- Admiral Michael S. Rogers tells The New York Times he has seen terrorist groups change communications tactics over the last year, but adds, "You have not heard me as the director say, 'Oh, my God, the sky is falling.'" Rogers was three months into his tenure as director of the NSA, replacing Keith Alexander.

gettyimages-475644548.jpg
13 of 15 Win McNamee, Getty Images

June 2, 2015

June 2, 2015 -- USA Freedom Act enacted. The law reauthorized many provisions of the Patriot Act, but introduced some limitations on bulk collections of phone records.

the-dark-web-hi-res-8629.jpg
14 of 15 James Martin/CNET

July 31, 2013

July 31, 2013 -- The Guardian publishes a report on the XKeyscore program, which allows NSA analysts to access a huge variety of Internet traffic by querying databases with email addresses, phone numbers and other search terms.

gettyimages-170799134.jpg
15 of 15 SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

May 10, 2016

May 10, 2016 -- The US Senate Judiciary Committee debates Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act, which authorizes the Prism and upstream collection programs.


This gallery also appears in Spanish. Read: Edward Snowden y la vigilancia estatal en EE.UU.

More Galleries

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera
A houseplant

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera

20 Photos
Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra
magic-v2-2024-foldable-1383

Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra

10 Photos
The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum
Samsung Galaxy S24

The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum

23 Photos
Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design
The Galaxy S24 Ultra in multiple colors

Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design

23 Photos
I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites
img-0368.jpg

I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

34 Photos
17 Hidden iOS 17 Features and Settings on Your iPhone
Invitation for the Apple September iPhone 15 event

17 Hidden iOS 17 Features and Settings on Your iPhone

18 Photos
AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?
img-1599-2.jpg

AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

17 Photos