Edward Snowden has set up a dead man’s switch.
Expert on security Bruce Schneier wrote, “I would be more worried that someone would kill me in order to get the documents released than I would be that someone would kill me to prevent the documents from being released.”
Snowden can worry less about getting killed now because the United States has an incentive to keep him alive – or it does while this ‘switch’ is still functional.
Wired has more details for you.
Footnote: Technically what’s set up is not a true dead man’s switch but as long as some press is calling it that, sure. Whatever.
A dead man’s switch is also called an “operator presence” switch and what it does is halt operations to ensure safety. If you have used a walk-behind lawnmower that has a button or handle that must be depressed by your hand so that the machine runs, you have used a dead man’s switch.
Or maybe you remember the dead man’s switch options in the film “Speed”. Dennis Hopper’s evil character set up a bomb to blow if the bus goes slower than 50 MPH or if somebody tries to get off of the bus or if somebody kills him while he takes a hostage. This ensures the safety of the crazy evil-doer.
Now that Snowden has established that he isn’t intending on becoming a martyr, his credibility and intentions will be even more vigorously attacked. He will become the crazed villain. The omniscient and global security network of the United States will not meekly disintegrate because we pleaded with anybody to uphold the bill of rights.
I have no idea where this bus is going or how to stop it. Unlike Speed, the good guys are also the bad guys and we aren’t going to be asked to valiantly drive the thing a la Sandra Bullock. We are just so many passengers, along for the ride.