NSA leaker's purported online activity, interests come to light

Posts on the Ars Technica site under the username "TheTrueHOOHA" show an interest in technology, gaming, and online anonymity.

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2 min read
Edward Snowden, in a screengrab from a video shot in Hong Kong by the Guardian newspaper
Edward Snowden, in a screengrab from a video shot in Hong Kong by the Guardian newspaper Screengrab via The Guardian

Scrutiny is coming to the motives and methods of Edward Snowden with the discovery of many years of online postings apparently from the man who said he leaked information on the NSA's electronic surveillance activities.

The 29-year-old former government contractor appears to have published comments and questions hundreds of times on the technology site Ars Technica under the username TheTrueHOOHA, according to reports from Reuters, Ars Technica, and Anthony de Rosa, who's about to join mobile news site Circa. Buzzfeed compiled some highlights, and Reuters also spotlighted some profile information on another site, since removed, called Ryuhana Press.

Plenty of people publish abundant personal information online, most of it unremarkable. But Snowden's activity is more notable now given his sudden fame -- and his privacy advocacy. Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has said the Internet needs a delete button so that people can erase their earlier online activity.

The posts show an interest in technology and where tech skills can get a person -- including the State Department. There's also interest in minimizing digital fingerprints, for example by using virtual-machine software to avoid leaving traces of activity on a host computer and using remote proxy servers for anonymity online.

And in a discussion of Cisco networking gear and wiretapping, a TheTrueHOOHA said, "It really concerns me how little this sort of corporate behavior bothers those outside of technology circles. Society really seems to have developed an unquestioning obedience towards spooky types."

Snowden said this month he's responsible for leaking information to the Washington Post and The Guardian about the National Security Agency's electronic surveillance abilities.