Last month a group of anonymous artists installed a statue of Edward Snowden in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene Park. The massive bust stood briefly atop the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument before it was covered and removed by the NYPD. Activists shortly thereafter replaced the physical monument with a holographic projection of Snowden.
In case you felt left out of the action, the original artists have released a 3-D rendering of their Snowden bust. Now anyone with access to a 3-D printer can print their very own miniature Snowden to adorn their living room, office, or public park. With this capability, will we start to see Snowden’s likeness affixed to buildings and monuments around the country?
The artists’ goal was to draw attention to the fact that Snowden still lives in exile despite the work he did to expose the NSA’s unconstitutional mass surveillance. They also hoped to get the media to refocus on the questions of mass surveillance at a crucial moment: Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, which the NSA has used to justify bulk collections of American’s phone records, expires in two weeks. The Senate is now faced with a decision that will have wide-reaching implications: renew Section 215, let it expire, or pass a new bill that reforms the NSA’s surveillance capabilities. At such a crucial moment for Americans’ privacy, maybe now is a good time to print a massive number of Snowden busts and leave them on the steps of Congress.