It seems as Edward Snowden has done much more than just leak a couple of thousands of documents. He has changed international relations on a global level, become one of the most influential people of today and raised awareness about government surveillance, privacy and spying.
And you thought he's done it all.
What he has also done is started a trend in which people leak documents and blow whistles on secretive and illegal activities without fear. It has almost become normal.
American cryptographer, computer security and privacy specialist and writer, Bruce Schneier, wrote a post on the Lawfare blog, saying that a number of whistleblowers appeared after Snowden, and that they're providing information about the US intelligence community. Alongside Manning and Snowden, he thinks there are probably five more:
"Leaker #3: The person who leaked secret documents to Jake Appelbaum, Laura Poitras and others in Germany: the Angela Merkel surveillance story, the TAO catalog, the X-KEYSCORE rules,“ he writes.
"Leaker #5: Someone who is leaking CIA documents.“
"Leaker #6: The person who leaked secret information about WTO spying to The Intercept and the New Zealand Herald. This isn’t Snowden; The Intercept is very careful to identify him as the source when it writes about the documents he provided.“
He counted a total of seven leakers, even though he thinks #3 and #7 could be the same person.
But the point is – it seems as it has become normal for people to risk everything they have just so they could leak important information about government activity.
Way back in June 2013, Glenn Greenwald said that "courage is contagious." He seems to be correct.