Woz Says Snowden Is A Hero, Bill Gates Disagrees

Edward Snowden, former contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA) who blew the whistle on the U.S. government's spying efforts by disclosing thousands of classified documents -- is he a hero for what he did, a traitor, or something else? It's a discussion point that may be debated for decades for come, and is certainly being talked about now. Both Bill Gates and Steve Wozniak have an opinion on the matter, which they recently shared publicly.

In an interview with Rolling Stones, the co-founder of Microsoft was critical of Snowden's actions, or at least the way he went about them. As a result, Gates has a hard time characterizing the former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee a hero.

"I think he broke the law, so I certainly wouldn't characterize him as a hero. If he wanted to raise the issues and stay in the country and engage in civil disobedience or something of that kind, or if he had been careful in terms of what he had released, then it would fit more of the model of 'OK, I'm really trying to improve things.' You won't find much admiration from me," Gates said.

Gates added that there should be a debate about government spying, but in terms of divulging the specific techniques that are used, he doesn't necessarily agree with discussing them in detail because then they become unavailable.

Wozniak's opinion is a bit different. As far as the Woz is concerned, what Snowden did was a courageous act most definitely deserving of hero status.

Steve Wozniak
Image Source: Flickr (eschipul)

"He is a hero to me, but he may be a traitor to other people and I understand the reasons for them to think that way," Woz said, according to The Times of India. "I believe that Snowden believed, like I do, that the U.S. has a right to freedom. He had the guts to and courage to sacrifice his life for a principle."

Furthermore, Woz feels that Snowden has been vindicated and should be allowed to return to the U.S. without fear of prosecution.

What's your opinion about Snowden and what he did?