Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks Have Social Media Spat: What Are the Implications, Ramifications On Data Privacy And The U.S. Election?

Famed U.S. data leakers Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks had a very public spat on social media on Thursday, clashing over the latter's decision to release emails that prove a level of corruption in both the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and its handpicked U.S. presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.

According to the Washington Post, Snowden, who the Inquisitr previously documented is currently exiled in Russia for his role in leaking critical data from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) to the American public, criticized WikiLeaks on his Twitter account. He shared his firm belief in the group having an obligation to responsibly release information.

Critics, including WikiLeaks itself, believe Snowden only has a rooting interest in censoring the information now because he believes it may earn him a pardon should Clinton be elected.

This Snowden/WikiLeaks spat has garnered publicity from many different channels, calling into question exactly how -- and how much -- leaked data should actually be distributed for public consumption.

As the Post noted, it was its own news organization that worked with Snowden -- then a government employee -- to release some classified information related to the NSA's ongoing citizen surveillance program. Some of this data, the newspaper noted, was withheld from public view due to the U.S. government's assertion that it could compromise national security.

It is this fact that leaves many feeling that Snowden is being hypocritical for now taking a stand.

As for WikiLeaks' own tactics, the Washington Post's Andrea Peterson called them "More radical: [WikiLeaks] often posts massive, searchable caches online with few -- if any -- apparent efforts to remove sensitive personal information."

WikiLeaks Protestor
While WikiLeaks' work has been lauded by some, such as the man pictured at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this past week, others have questioned some of the group's tactics in bulk-releasing sensitive information. [Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]

In particular, the Washington Post noted that WikiLeaks has not hesitated to publish sensitive information, including the credit card numbers, social security numbers, and passports of some Democratic Party donors, potentially even opening them up to identity theft.

Perhaps Edward Snowden, therefore, is on to something. And, more surprisingly, the U.S. government may actually be in agreement with Snowden.

WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange was investigated by the U.S. government after the resource published a large collection of diplomatic and military documents it received from Chelsea Manning (formerly Brandon Manning) in 2010. Despite having not formally been charged, Assange did accuse then-Secretary of State Clinton of attempting to indict him.

More recently, WikiLeaks was criticized by Snowden for its decision to release a crop of DNC-related e-mails just prior to, and during, the party's Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. It was at this event that Clinton was to be formally coronated as the Democratic party's presidential nominee.

Trump and Hillary Masks
WikiLeaks' data release policy - which has been criticized in a recent spat with Edward Snowden - now stands at the center of controversy for both the Republican (Donald Trump) and Democratic (Hillary Clinton) presidential candidates. Their masks, which will no doubt be a top must have hit Halloween item this year, are now being made. [Image by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images]

For its own part, the Post noted that Clinton's camp believes the release was fueled by the Russian government in an attempt to undermine her political sway. Snow, coincidentally, continues to live in temporary asylum there.

Never one to avoid redirecting criticism at himself, Trump on Wednesday sarcastically urged Russia's hackers to try to locate the private emails of Clinton, the content of which has been strongly debated between the two parties this election cycle.

Trump, unlike the other parties in this discussion, would quickly characterize his statements as being "sarcastic," also per the Post.

[Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]