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Permanent Record

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  5,461 ratings  ·  731 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 an
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 17th 2019 by Metropolitan Books
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Flaviu Vescan 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…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,…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
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 cat
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 st
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
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."
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
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 Snowden and Shane Smith

September 2019: Justice Department Sues Edward Snowden Over New Book ‘Permanent Record’
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, library, memoir
So well written and absolutely riveting.
Flaviu Vescan
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
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
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
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
They know you

No, these words are not from the book; they are part of Meshuggah’s
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
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
In her bestselling book, “Surveillance Capitalism”, author Shoshana Zuboff while making reference to the insanely popular virtual game, Pokémon Go, writes, “players think they are playing one game – collecting Pokémon – while they are in fact pawns in an entirely different one.” Beneath the seemingly innocuous exterior of a task involving ‘collection’ of creatures hidden in various nooks and crannies both indoors and outdoors, lay an interior, murky and malfeasant. The game’s creators, in due co ...more
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
Thorkell Ottarsson
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite, politics
This book is excellent.

The chapters about Snowden's childhood are rather pointless (should really have been skipped) but everything after he enters the army and then starts working for the government is fantastic.

Edward Snowden is a better thinker than a writer and it is when he starts discussing the implication of mass surveillance and what it can lead to that the book really delivers. An important book from one of our greatest heroes.
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Most people who follow me online will have grown-up around the start of the World-Wide-Web. And that is where this book begins. That nostalgic, online, open, free and anonymous space, full of potential and filled with people chatting in rooms. Computing was stepping up, computer consoles were becoming more common place, and PCs were just still out of the reach of every home.

Edward Snowden was born within our same generation, but whereas we remained the passive consumers of online pla
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Whatever you believe or choose to believe - read this one. We are all humans after all.
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a long awaited book for me. Some people may disagree with him. IMHO I consider him a true hero. He outed the corruption at the very top. This has not stopped and has actually increased. The saddest thing about the entire situation as that we all know the NSA is watching everything we do and we the people have done nothing. We have become a bunch of complaisant drones of the government.

This book covers more of his upbringing and what brought him to the point where he blew the whistle on
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s not perfect but it’s important
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 h
Oddly I found myself losing sympathy for Snowden the more I read. Perhaps my cynicism conflicted too greatly with his high-minded sense of idealism.
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Hello CIA!
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: listened-2019
Snowden's autobiography highlights a deeply flawed narrative and character regarding his disclosure of classified intelligence programs in 2013.

The first several chapters describe Snowden's childhood and the early part of his career before he joined the intelligence community. The anecdotes about life as a child in the 1990s may be interesting for people who did not grow up during that time period, but as somebody who did, I did not find them revealing. That part that was revealing w
Sep 20, 2019 rated it liked it
While I can relate nearly 100% with the way Edward Snowden grew up (it was eerily similar)... that doesn’t mean I enjoyed reading it. I’d give this book 2 stars if it wasn’t for the utmost respect that I have for the author and the sacrifices that he made to get the truth out there.
There is a lot of internet infrastructure terminology used throughout, which is explained in ways that make it very easy to understand. However, since my professional background is in network systems, these parts wer
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everybody
I am the first to admit that I am horribly, disgustingly under-informed on most current events, which leads to me being horribly, disgustingly under-informed on past current events. So when I saw Permanent Record on the shelf, other than being struck by the cover, I looked at the author and thought "Oh that's that Wikileaks guy, isn't it?" No. No it isn't.

Permanent Record is the story of Snowden's life - from his childhood through his adolescence first experiencing the wonder of the Internet, to his career/>Permanent
Oct 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Disclaimer - I do not support governmental or any other institution survailance of private entities.

I read this book with a great interest, hoping to learn some new perspectives on the story which had been told many times already and is probably known to most people in the US. 

This is a memoir of whisleblower Edward Snowden,  heavily tinged with anti governmental ideology, so if you are not favorable towards that kind of things, you may consider staying away. Author describes his li
Athan Tolis
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics, biography
Unlike Edward Snowden, I don’t accept axiomatically that it’s wrong for a well-meaning government to collect my data. Rather, I hold that belief for some of the same reasons I don’t like the death penalty: first, I don’t want to have to trust my government with infallibility; second, it freaks me out that, once it’s established the government can do it, the private sector might get a look-in (which for data it already does, of course; possession is nine tenths of the law)

Either way,
Sreeraag Mohan
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
To refuse to inform yourself about the basic operation and maintenance of the equipment you depended on was to passively accept that tyranny and agree to its terms: when your equipment works, you’ll work, but when your equipment breaks down you’ll break down, too. Your possessions would possess you.

Think about a day in your life, where you're cut-off from the internet world: maybe your phone is broken, or global servers have been attacked, rendering your favourite social media sites down. H
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Goodreads Librari...: wrong page number 2 45 Sep 20, 2019 07:52AM  
Semifinal Round
1,843,377 Votes Cast
Edward Joseph "Ed" Snowden is an American computer professional who leaked classified information unveiling mass-surveillance at an unimagined scale from intelligence agencies to mainstream media which created ripples across the globe.
“The freedom of a country can only be measured by its respect for the rights of its citizens, and it’s my conviction that these rights are in fact limitations of state power that define exactly where and when a government may not infringe into that domain of personal or individual freedoms that during the American Revolution was called “liberty” and during the Internet Revolution is called “privacy.” 8 likes
“The reason you're reading this book is that I did a dangerous thing for a man in my position: I decided to tell the truth.” 6 likes
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