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Permanent Record

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  34,555 ratings  ·  3,500 reviews
Edward Snowden, the man who risked everything to expose the US government’s system of mass surveillance, reveals for the first time the story of his life, including how he helped to build that system and what motivated him to try to bring it down.

In 2013, twenty-nine-year-old Edward Snowden shocked the world when he broke with the American intelligence establishment and re
Hardcover, 339 pages
Published September 17th 2019 by Metropolitan Books
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Flaviu Yes, he talks a good deal about how everything was arranged. By the time he reached Russia many things were out of his control and he was basically ju…moreYes, he talks a good deal about how everything was arranged. By the time he reached Russia many things were out of his control and he was basically just hoping for the best (not being extradited and/or suicided).
He was never meant to stay in Russia, but his passport was cancelled while he was in mid-flight. The final destination was Ecuador. (less)
Debby Taylor-Lane Russia was not his intended destination, it was only a lay over point. However, when he landed he discovered that the USA had revoked his passport, st…moreRussia was not his intended destination, it was only a lay over point. However, when he landed he discovered that the USA had revoked his passport, stranding him in the country. (less)

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Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The guy’s a genius with a selfless heart of gold. He gave up a $250,000 a year job in Hawaii, left his family, friends, country....his whole life, to share truth of the United States’ masses having their constitutional rights violated by the NSA.

The founding fathers are smiling down from Heaven....and at the same time are staring in disbelief and disappointment at the false patriotism of the ignorant who condemn this man for his sacrifice.
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Edward Snowden has no new bombshells in this book, but "Permanent Record" is still full of surprises in some ways. Far from the low-level IT drone depicted in most early press accounts, and even further from the naive double agent trashed by his critics, the narrator of this book is a thoughtful, painfully self-aware intelligence professional who found himself forced to confront and expose the reality of mass surveillance -- and the immense powers of coercion it gave to authorities who, thanks t ...more
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jenna by: Claudia
“I was resolved to bring to light a single, all-encompassing fact: that my government had developed and deployed a global system of mass surveillance without the knowledge or consent of its citizenry.” ~Edward Snowden

I began reading this book with a decent amount of skepticism. Is Edward Snowden a hero or a criminal? Could I believe him? I was bothered by the fact that he lives in Russia; is he a hero or a traitor? What is he doing in Russia rather than living in exile in another country?

Oct 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
In a book of 29 chapters, you can safely skip the first 19.

Chapter 20, where he gives a talk on China and when the hypocrisy becomes too much for him to cope with, is where this book starts. Up until then it is a long and somewhat boring journey. After this point, the book springs to life and is over too soon.

Lately I feel like I have become Australia’s chief spokesperson for the Chinese Communist Party – so, I want to start by saying that I’m actually not all that fond of the CCP. The problem
Alok Mishra
Dec 01, 2019 rated it liked it
I am not judging the person - Snowden is a person who changed the very way we used to think. He introduced to the world the dirty secrets that we could have never known otherwise. However, I am just sharing my thoughts about his book.
Divided into three parts, the book narrates Snowden's story to the readers. He has been direct and amusing at times and symbolic as well, less frequently, nevertheless. Part one has been pulled a little longer than it could ideally be. The second part introduces th
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is so weird!

I did not rate this book, but I see that "I" gave it 2-stars on August 27.

It seriously looks like my account was hacked in order to give a book 2 stars!

Who does that?

Manuel Antão
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

DNS over HTTPS (DoH): "Permanent Record" by Edward Snowden

The minute some politico starts banging on about that we need to restrict something because we need to "protect the children" you can be absolutely sure that they mean to prevent the people having the same access to information as they do. Or they have been caught with their trousers down. And I am not talking about defence related stuff categorised as Top Secret. It is doubly f
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a highly-readable and thoroughly fascinating account of Snowden as a child, his ethical foundations, computer ethos, and his original desire always do the right thing.

For any of you who don't know his name, you'll find a thousand accounts that turn him into a hero and a thousand that turn him into a traitor. I totally recommend reading his own words. He was always careful and thoughtful and did what he did for what he thought was the very best of reasons.

By any stretch of reality, he sim
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
I did not intend on writing this review on 9/11, which I guess could be considered appropriate or inappropriate depending on your perspective. I actually finished this book yesterday for what it’s worth.

I was a child in September, 2001, so I don’t remember specific rollbacks in privacy; I didn’t have any real privacy to speak of at that point. But I do remember the way the adults around me changed. Three months after having to stand up and say the pledge of allegiance again, in the middle of the
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Popsugar challenge 2020 - A book with the same title as a movie or TV show but its unrelated to it

Mind blown. Utterly mind blown.

I'm typing out a book review on the world wide web but I'm thinking I never want to go online or touch a smartphone again. Mind blown.

We know they know but I never really understood the level to which they knew.

Edward Snowden has educated me, from the invisible wall in Super Mario Brothers to hidden offices under pineapple fields. As someone who isn't at all techy E
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2019, own
I think it's been fairly well established by now where my views on Edward Snowden fall in the traitor vs. hero debate, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that I was very excited to read his story as told in his own words. Since following his disclosures back in 2013, I have unabashedly admired what he has done and what he stands for, as well as the courage required by his actions. Reading this book has, if anything, strengthened my impression of him as a sympathetic and relatable person as well ...more
LE 22/11: just came across this podcast, thanks to a friend of mine, and it's excellent:

They own your every secret, your life is in their files
The grains of your every waking second sifted through and scrutinized
They know your every right. They know your every wrong
Each put in their due compartment - sins where sins belong

They know you. They see all. They know all indiscretions
Compiler of your dreams, your indignations
Following your every single move
Laura Noggle
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very spooky, real-life Halloween read.


"The freedom of a country can only be measured by its respect for the rights of its citizens ... Ultimately, saying that you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different from saying you don’t care about freedom of speech because you have nothing to say."
Feb 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
While I was reading this, my usually well-informed husband said "Isn't he the traitor involved with Assange who lives in Russia"? Snowden did not release the classified NSA documents to WikiLeaks but rather three reputable journalists - but I think the fact that he ended up living in Moscow (not by his choice) is confusing. I was skeptical myself. I found the book excellent, eye opening and educational. I believe Snowden's earnest attempt to educate us and protect our privacy is heroic. ...more
Andrew Smith
Like most people, to me the name Edward Snowden is synonymous with the term whistleblower. But if I’d been asked to explain exactly what he blew the whistle on I’d have struggled to provide a cogent answer. So, time to fill a gap in my knowledge base. In this book, Snowden tells the story of his life up to and including the point in time he leaked thousands of highly classified documents and had found himself subsequently ‘beached’ in Russia, whilst en route Ecuador. His American passport had be ...more
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Like many others I had read Glenn Greenwald's articles regarding Edward Snowden, the CIA analyst and whistle-blower. I did my own research regarding the plight of whistle blowers in the US and the content that Snowden allegedly released. To say that I was thrilled to read Permanent Record by Snowden is an understatement. His story in his own words. It was everything I anticipated. Snowden is brilliant and his book is brilliantly written.

The fact is there are those who are going to love or hate
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is a fascinating book.

Late October 2019: Recode Decode podcast interview with Edward Snowden (thanks to Michael Perkins for the heads up )

October 2019: Ghost in the Machine: How Edward Snowden found his conscience

September 2019: Trevor Noah (The Daily Show) interviewed Edward Snowden

From 2016, 'State of Surveillance' with Edward Sn
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
To me, what Snowden did was a heroic sacrifice for the sake of free speech and democracy. It shows that even in this century of "the many", individual action can matter just as much as collective action and that gives me a great deal of hope.

People like him give me hope, but they also show that the liberties we currently have are very much being taken for granted. Democracy, free speech, privacy were not just hard earned through countless deaths, but require constant struggle for re-establishme
Donna Backshall
"I hadn't signed up for any of this. I had just wanted to screw around with computers and maybe do some good for my country along the way."

No one wants to bear the weight of an ugly truth that must be told to great personal sacrifice. Snowden's "desperate hope that somebody else somewhere else would figure it out on their own" is heartbreaking to read, as you imagine yourself in his shoes.

This novel definitely falls into the glad-I-read-it-but-now-my-stomach-really-hurts category.
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, library, memoir
So well written and absolutely riveting.
Woman Reading
traitor or patriotic whistleblower?

In June 2013, Edward Snowden burst onto the global stage by publicly asserting that the US government was essentially spying on all Americans without their knowledge and thus without their consent. The US government launched an international manhunt for the National Security Agency (NSA) contractor they called a "traitor." Snowden was en route to Ecuador on a multi-leg itinerary when he was run to ground in the Moscow airport. He was effectively grounded when
Nada Elshabrawy
Great first book of the year.
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I believe, just as those journalists believe, that a government may keep some information concealed. Even the most transparent democracy in the world may be allowed to classify, for example, the identity of its undercover agents and the movements of its troops in the field. This book includes no such secrets. To give an account of my life while protecting the privacy of my loved ones and not exposing legitimate government secrets is no simple task, but it is my task. Between those two responsibi ...more
Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
So fascinating to hear Snowden's story. I feel like I was sympathetic to him from the beginning of this whole story and I followed enough of it to know the major plot points. My impression of him as an earnest person trying to do the right thing remains intact after reading this book. But it does make me wonder if his idealism about the internet wasn't the reason he was so disillusioned. I guess putting myself in his position, I probably wouldn't have at all been surprised by the NSA's actions. ...more
Never imagined I’d be so spellbound by this book. Fascinating. In his memoir, Edward Snowden first explains how revealing his life story and intimate details of his life is a difficult exercise for him. Especially for someone who has worked in the spying community, where self-effacement is the rule of the game, and appearing as bland and unmemorable as possible are essential tools one must adopt and project at all times to evade detection.

He explains that telling his life story, his family hist
Sep 22, 2019 rated it did not like it
People are going to love this book -- it's a tantalizing look behind the curtain in exchange for accepting Snowden's personable, but self-serving, white-washed, martyr drama.

Snowden reportedly stole over a million classified documents, of which an unknown percent have been distributed to an unknown number of parties, and about 10,000 have been publicly published. He claims in the book that he can no longer reconstruct the documents, that he didn't give any to the Russians, and that he's a whistl
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Snowden is a controversial figure, if ever there was one. There's who considers him a traitor, who a hero, with very little middle ground. Despite that, there's something undeniable about him: he chose to throw away a reasonably comfortable life for something he believed in. It was a completely selfless reason, made without any personal agendas whatsoever. That is something that I personally respect and admire.
This biography is a very interesting look at his life and everything that brought him
Michelle Curie
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
We live in an age in which it seems unthinkable to exist without technology. It's rare that we'll meet someone without a phone, a laptop or other devices connected to the internet. We've reached a stage in our civilisation where we can't be quite sure anymore who owns whom.

"When your equipment works, you'll work, but when your equipment breaks down you'll break down, too. Your possessions would possess you."

Six years ago, Edward Snowden revealed that the US-government was secretly collectin
Edward Snowden may run into some trouble getting paid for his memoir Permanent Record (Metropolitan Books), but he was never all that concerned with money. Did he talk his way into a $62k a year contractor job at the age of 22? Yup. Did he take a pay cut to work directly for the government? That he did. He also kept his three-story townhouse fairly bare-bones, sleeping on a mattress on the floor and accepting hand-me-down furniture.

So for Snowden, it’s never been about the money—it’s always been
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Hello CIA!
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Non Fiction Book ...: February/March 2020 - Permanent Record by Edward Snowden 42 78 Mar 26, 2020 01:17AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Some corrections 3 19 Mar 22, 2020 03:10PM  
░N░e░w░ ░A░u░t░h░...: Edward Snowden 3 18 Nov 16, 2019 07:25AM  
Goodreads Librari...: wrong page number 2 54 Sep 20, 2019 03:52PM  

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Edward Joseph Snowden is an American whistleblower who copied and leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013 when he was a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee and subcontractor. His disclosures revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA and the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance with the cooperation of telecommunication compani ...more

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  Every December, as we wrap up our annual Goodreads Reading Challenge, we ask our book-loving colleagues a simple yet incredibly tough...
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“There is, simply, no way, to ignore privacy. Because a citizenry’s freedoms are interdependent, to surrender your own privacy is really to surrender everyone’s. You might choose to give it up out of convenience, or under the popular pretext that privacy is only required by those who have something to hide. But saying that you don’t need or want privacy because you have nothing to hide is to assume that no one should have, or could have to hide anything – including their immigration status, unemployment history, financial history, and health records. You’re assuming that no one, including yourself, might object to revealing to anyone information about their religious beliefs, political affiliations and sexual activities, as casually as some choose to reveal their movie and music tastes and reading preferences. Ultimately, saying that you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different from saying you don’t care about freedom of speech because you have nothing to say. Or that you don’t care about freedom of the press because you don’t like to read. Or that you don’t care about freedom of religion because you don’t believe in God. Or that you don’t care about the freedom to peaceably assemble because you’re a lazy, antisocial agoraphobe. Just because this or that freedom might not have meaning to you today doesn’t mean that that it doesn’t or won’t have meaning tomorrow, to you, or to your neighbor – or to the crowds of principled dissidents I was following on my phone who were protesting halfway across the planet, hoping to gain just a fraction of the freedom that my country was busily dismantling.” 58 likes
“Ultimately, saying that you don't care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different from saying you don't care about freedom of speech because you have nothing to say.” 46 likes
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