Ethical Issue in Edward Snowden’s Action

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During the interview, Snowden explained that his previous experience at the Central intelligence agency (CIA) and National Security Agency (NSA) provides him with unlimited access to information that led him wondering whether the conducts of these agencies were moral. He persisted on the fact that what the National Security Agency (NSA) doing that time was wrong and considered as a violation of privacy. In a matter of fact, NSA was not only spying on suspicious individuals outside the country but also listening and recording tremendous people’s conversations inside without their authorizations. Snowden went further and pointed out that Public have the right to know about the NSA misconducts.

He also supported his action in going public as his unique choice because neither his supervisor nor the government will consider what NSA was doing is a misusing or unethical. His decision was mainly due to his disappointment towards Obama administration which gave more power to Agency at the expense of privacy.

Furthermore, Snowden explained that he has no hidden attention behind his leaks. Indeed, he sacrifices his comfortable life and places his security, and his family in danger because of what he believes, and he believes that the NSA surveillance activities were doing more harm than good. As a person who has a very high sense of moral, he could not remain silent while the agency committed severe abuse of authority, invaded the privacy of the citizens, and destroyed the real sense of democracy and freedom which are part of the country’s fundamentals.

According to the utilitarian theory, the rightness of an action depends on the consequence or the results obtained (Boatright, 2013). In other words, the end justified the means. If the results provide a maximum of pleasure or well-being for the majority, then the action is morally right. A utilitarian will argue that since the whistleblowing act places the security and safety of Americans citizen in danger and leaves the country vulnerable to terrorist threats, the decision in question is unethical.

Even though NSA’s secret surveillance program is illegal and violated the right of privacy protected by the Fourth Amendment, which NSA insists on refuting this accusation, the ultimate goal is to give the majority of people more pleasure than harm. In these circumstances, NSA’s conduct is a modern version of Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon doctrine (Thomas McMullan, 2015). Bentham’s approach supports the idea of ​​supervising and monitoring the population for the greatest happiness which refers to a safety for the entire population. Hence, from the utilitarian thinking, Snowden ac failed the consequentialist aspect, thus he would be granted immunity to the U.S

Conversely to the utilitarian theory, the Kant theory is based on the moral duty of the action regardless of the consequences (Boatright, 2013). In other words, every human decision must be judged according to its conformity to certain duties. Under the Kantian approaches, Snowden’s action is right because he has the duty to expose any wrongdoing or misconduct that he has witnessed during his work, and the NSA’s conduct is absolutely illegal since its invading individual’s privacy.

In fact, Snowden insists that the only right action in this debate is the disclosure of the abusive conduct of the NSA agency. However, if he remained silent, no one would be able to whistle blow wrongdoing especially against the government, and therefore any unethical conduct will become a universal law which will result in the absence of the moral duty. Furthermore, the reason behind Snowden action is his loyalty to the public and his respects of privacy which constitute a part of a person dignity.

Cite this paper

Ethical Issue in Edward Snowden’s Action. (2022, Jan 14). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/ethical-issue-in-edward-snowdens-action/

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