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Joe Rogan Experience #1368 – Edward Snowden

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The Joe Rogan Experience #1368: A Conversation with Edward Snowden

Life in Exile In his conversation with Joe Rogan, Edward Snowden delves into his life since leaving the United States. Snowden has spent his time giving speeches at universities and conducting interviews, all while maintaining a high level of privacy. His commitment to educating the public about surveillance and privacy has become his primary occupation. Snowden’s approach to living in exile revolves around continuing his advocacy while adapting to a life far removed from the world he once knew.

Unveiling the Truth About Surveillance and Privacy

  • Edward Snowden discusses his life in exile: Snowden shares his experiences since leaving the U.S., including his work giving speeches and interviews, and his approach to maintaining privacy.

  • Release of “Permanent Record” and government response: Upon releasing his book “Permanent Record,” Snowden and his publisher were sued by the U.S. government, aiming to prevent the book’s distribution due to its content on government surveillance.

  • Mass surveillance and constitutional issues: Snowden emphasizes the extent of government surveillance programs post-9/11, which monitor individuals without specific suspicion, violating constitutional principles.

  • Whistleblowing and government transparency: He highlights the importance of whistleblowing in revealing government misconduct and the need for transparency about government surveillance programs to uphold democratic values.

  • Impact of technology on privacy: Snowden explains how modern technology, such as smartphones, facilitates extensive data collection and surveillance, often legally justified through outdated legal doctrines like the third-party doctrine.

Permanent Record and Government Retaliation

Upon the release of his book, Permanent Record, Snowden faced immediate retaliation from the U.S. government. The government filed lawsuits against both Snowden and his publisher, aiming to stifle the distribution of the book. Permanent Record is not just an autobiography; it is a comprehensive account of the changing landscape of technology and government surveillance in the post-9/11 era. The government’s swift legal action underscores its discomfort with the transparency Snowden’s book brings.

Mass Surveillance and Constitutional Concerns

Snowden emphasizes the pervasive nature of government surveillance programs that emerged after 9/11. These programs, he explains, monitor individuals on a massive scale without specific suspicion, which he argues is a direct violation of constitutional principles. According to Snowden, the government should only monitor individuals when there is an individualized suspicion of wrongdoing. This shift toward broad surveillance has eroded public influence over government policy and created a divide between the government and the public.

The Role of Whistleblowers in Government Transparency

One of Snowden’s primary messages is the critical role of whistleblowing in maintaining government transparency. He believes that revealing government misconduct is essential for preserving democratic values. Snowden recounts his decision to leak information about the NSA’s surveillance programs, explaining that he wanted the public to understand the extent of government overreach. He highlights the creation of a “turnkey tyranny,” a system that could be easily abused by any future leader, and stresses the need for robust legal and policy safeguards to prevent such abuse.

Technology and the Erosion of Privacy

Snowden also addresses the impact of modern technology on privacy. He explains how smartphones and other devices enable extensive data collection and surveillance. Despite this, the legal framework justifying these practices often relies on outdated principles such as the third-party doctrine, which originated from a 1970s case. Snowden points out the inadequacy of current laws in protecting privacy in the digital age. He calls for a reevaluation of these legal doctrines to better address contemporary privacy challenges.


Edward Snowden’s conversation with Joe Rogan provides a profound insight into the complexities of surveillance, privacy, and government transparency. His experiences and perspectives highlight the ongoing struggle to balance national security with individual freedoms. Snowden’s call for greater transparency and stronger legal protections underscores the importance of vigilance in safeguarding democratic principles in an increasingly digital world.

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