Publication Date


Document Type

Ethics Essay

Center Name

Ethics and Social Justice Center


Computer Science


When the Espionage Act was born in 1917, the Internet was still 74 years away from the public eye. In 1952, the National Security Agency (NSA) was founded to lead “the U.S. Government in cryptology that encompasses both Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) and Information Assurance (IA) products and services, and enables Computer Network Operations (CNO) in order to gain a decision advantage for the Nation and our allies under all circumstances.” In civilian terms, the NSA’s mission is to protect the United States of America against cyber crime. Then, in 2013, four years shy of the centennial birthday of the Espionage Act, a little-known NSA employee named Edward Snowden, was indicted on two charges of espionage under this act.