NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
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 revealed that the United States government was secretly pursuing the means to collect every single phone call, text message, and email. The result would be an unprecedented system of mass surveillance with the ability to pry into the private lives of every person on earth. Six years later, Snowden reveals for the very first time how he helped to build this system and why he was moved to expose it.
Spanning the bucolic Beltway suburbs of his childhood and the clandestine CIA and NSA postings of his adulthood, Permanent Record is the extraordinary account of a bright young man who grew up online--a man who became a spy, a whistleblower, and, in exile, the Internet's conscience. Written with wit, grace, passion, and an unflinching candor, Permanent Record is a crucial memoir of our digital age and destined to be a classic.
"A riveting account... Reads like a literary thriller... Snowden pushes the reader to reflect more seriously on what every American should be asking already. What does it mean to have the data of our lives collected and stored on file, ready to be accessed--not just now, by whatever administration happens to be in office at the moment, but potentially forever?... When it comes to privacy and speech and the Constitution, his story clarifies the stakes." --The New York Times
"Gripping... Snowden demonstrates a knack for explaining in lucid and compelling language the inner workings of [CIA and NSA] systems and the menace he came to believe they posed." --The Washington Post
"Snowden eventually decided his loyalties lay not with the agencies he was working for, but the public they were set up to protect. He felt ordinary citizens were being betrayed, and he had a duty to explain how.... His account of the experiences that led him to take momentous decisions, along with the details he gives of his family background, serve as a robust defense against accusations that he is a traitor." --The Guardian
"Even for those of us who've followed the Snowden revelations closely, Permanent Record is full of surprises.... A deeply reluctant whistleblower, Snowden also emerges as a peculiarly American patriot, with roots that go back to Plymouth Rock.... As his memoir makes clear, all the techniques he exposed in 2013 remain in place. For that renewed warning--and for finally speaking for himself--he deserves our thanks." --The Nation
"Well-written... Snowden's descriptions of the real impact of the various surveillance systems he disclosed--stripped of abstract concepts and technical jargon--are some of the most disturbing parts of the book.... Offers a useful reminder of the god-like omniscience that digital data can bestow on those with the power to collect it all." --The Economist