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Former U.S. NSA Security Analyst wins Bjornson Prize for Freedom of Expression

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Edward Snowden is a former Security Analyst at the United States National Security Agency. The administration branded him “a hacker and a traitor” who endangered many lives by revealing the extent of the NSA spying program.

The Norwegian Academy of Literature and Freedom of Expression awarded Snowden the Bjornson Prize—named after a Norwegian Nobel literature laureate—”for his work protecting privacy and for shining a critical light on US surveillance of its citizens and others.” The award includes prize money of 100,000 kroner (US$12,700 or 11,500 Euros).

Snowden is the kind of person you would call a “whistle-blower”. We present you certain interesting facts about him that you would like to know:

  • Edward Snowden took classes at a community college in Maryland but never finished his high school.
  • The sticker on Snowden’s laptop expresses support for Internet freedom. It reads, “I support Online Rights: Electronic Frontier Foundation.”
  • In 2003, Snowden entered a Special Forces training program in the Army but he did not complete his training and left after five months.
  • Snowden was also a security guard at the University of Maryland before he moved on to the CIA to work on IT security.
  • He has stated that he had planned to disclose the NSA’s surveillance programmes during 2008 presidential elections but did not do so because he believed in the promises made by Barack Obama.

Snowden was awarded Sweden’s Right Livelihood Award in 2014 but he chose to accept it by video link rather than leave his exile in Russia.

Snowden has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for the second year in a row. The Nobel will be awarded in Oslo, Norway, on October 9.

Snowden lives in exile in Russia since 2013, after he revealed mass spying programmes by the United States and its allies. He did not leave his exile but received the prize through video link.