Edward Snowden, meet Jeff Bezos

What we do know about Snowden is something we don’t know about the new owner of the Washington Post: whether he can go up against the most powerful and secretive forces on the planet… and win.

Jay Rosen
Press Think

…When his free press moment comes — and it will come — will Jeff Bezos answer the bell?…

…Through his company, Amazon, Jeff Bezos is already enmeshed in the surveillance state. One sign of that: Amazon’s $600 million deal to build cloud computing infrastructure for the CIA. Another was reported by the Post in its profile over the weekend:

As chief of Amazon, Bezos has also confronted some First Amendment issues, maybe most prominently in its handling of a situation involving WikiLeaks.

In November 2010, WikiLeaks began using Amazon’s Web hosting service to leak thousands of pages of State Department cables. But the company abruptly terminated the contract within 24 hours of receiving a call from a staff member for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

In a statement at the time, Amazon said WikiLeaks was expelled from its site because it violated the terms of its agreement with the company, not because of “a government inquiry.”

That’s not answering the bell for freedom of information. That’s doing what the surveillance state requires, and relying on a legalism to justify it. This is exactly the kind of behavior Edward Snowden was reacting against when he made his decision to go AWOL and reveal key documents to The Guardian and the Washington Post…

…If Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post for, say, twenty years, he will probably have to make a call like that. On his own. Without legal authority. Simply because he thinks it right. “Not the state but the public gets to decide this.”…


The complete article, with video, is at Press Think. The comments there are also worth reading.



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