I feel bombarded with Edward Snowden this week. A Snowden-based character manifested in an episode of Elementary I watched Tuesday evening, then he was cited in an episode of The Good Wife I watched last night, and now in the top-rated article at the Washington Post, NSA infiltrates links to Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide, Snowden documents say :
The National Security Agency has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, according to documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with knowledgeable officials.
By tapping those links, the agency has positioned itself to collect at will from hundreds of millions of user accounts, many of them belonging to Americans. The NSA does not keep everything it collects, but it keeps a lot.
I generally like Elementary, but I just streamed We Are Everyone, the third episode of the second season, which aired a few weeks ago. Like Snowden, a fellow named Ezra Kleinfelter leaks NSA data to a reporter, and then must evade capture. He is abetted by Everyone – essentially Anonymous – an online group that hacks and harasses Holmes and Watson. Like Julian Assange, Kleinfelter expects casual sex with his supporters. Unlike either of them, he kills a woman who is harboring him and has presumably rejected his advances, then threatens to expose a dozen at risk covert US agents. Thus in the Elementary universe, the whistleblower is scum, the hacker collective is misguided and NSA agents are not-so-bad. And that, little children, is your morality lesson of the day.
In The Good Wife’s second episode, The Bit Bucket, we see two slacker-hackers in a vast NSA office who are monitoring all of Alicia Florrick’s personal communications because two years ago Lockhart & Gardner represented an Afghani translator suspected of terrorism. Snowden’s leaks are mentioned both during courtroom arguments as L & G sue the NSA on behalf of ChumHum, a fictional competitor to Facebook, Google and Yahoo – all of whom have lost some credibility for sharing info with the NSA – and by NSA managers as they bemoan the increased legal scrutiny since Snowden went public. Rather than trying to sell one point-of-view, The Good Wife writers keep you reeling with the contradictory implications of almost everything that happens.