Across the world, countless men and women have done incredible things to maintain an open and free internet. From uncovering and sharing classified documents to creating art that challenges our notions of surveillance, these heroes have enriched the debate on privacy and changed the way we associate online. Here, ExpressVPN looks at the life and achievements of these extraordinary individuals.
Profiling NSA leak journalist
He’s a man of many talents, from civil rights litigator to best-selling author. But Glenn Greenwald is perhaps best known as the journalist who brought Edward Snowden to the public’s attention.
Profiling Citizenfour director
Few people understand what it means to be under surveillance (and how to fight back!) as well as Oscar-winning filmmaker Laura Poitras.
A Scottish reporter & internet privacy hero
Have you seen Citizenfour, the Oscar-winning Laura Poitras documentary about how Edward Snowden revealed the NSA’s secret mass surveillance programs?
Then you might remember Ewen MacAskill.
Whistleblower journey from Wales to jail
What would you do if you discovered the army you served in was carelessly killing innocent civilians, and illegally torturing others? It’s a tough question.
Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning, chose to reveal the truth to the whole world.
WikiLeaks, Tor, and defender of privacy
Jacob Appelbaum has made a name of himself as the only American working for WikiLeaks, a vocal advocate of the Tor Project, and a controversial harassment scandal that cost him his career.
French computer scientist and online rights activist
Enter Jérémie Zimmermann, founder of the Internet freedoms advocacy group La Quadrature du Net. He also co-authored the book Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet with WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange.
Journalist, legal researcher
If you had to name the two most significant figures in the global surveillance and online privacy debates, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden would probably the two you went for. But if you had to name the person that links them, there’s only one answer: Sarah Harrison.
Researcher and inventor
The concept of wearable technology is finally gaining some traction. Apple finally entered the smart watch party and Google’s high profile Glass project very nearly took off. But it’s not a new idea - in fact, it was pioneered by the American researcher and inventor Steve Mann in 1981.
The first NSA whistleblower
William Binney was once the man who designed the National Security Agency’s automated surveillance systems. But he left the NSA in 2001, when he discovered his employer had started spying on civilians.
Tim Berners Lee
The inventor of the World Wide Web
Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web - the part of the Internet that makes websites and web browsers work. Without the World Wide Web (WWW), you wouldn’t have a browser to read this web page on. Not that it would matter, because without the WWW this web page wouldn’t exist for you to browse to.