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The award goes to people who "reveal grave abuses and dangerous developments for people and society, democracy, peace and the environment in the public interest," watchdog Transparency International said on its website.
Explaining why Snowden received the award, Hartmut Grassl from the Federation of German Scientists said, "An open society needs civil courage and brave people like Edward Snowden, so that abuses are revealed and prevented."
Snowden's revelations have also caused a heated political debate in Germany, after a report by news weekly Der Spiegel said documents provided by Snowden showed that German services cooperated closely with the NSA and used its Internet spy software XKeyscore.
Germany's domestic intelligence service BfV has said it was only testing the Internet tool, which Der Spiegel said can store several days' worth of Internet traffic data and content as well as key words from online search engines and Google Maps.
The US documents reportedly also praised the "eagerness" of foreign intelligence service BND President Gerhard Schindler to cooperate more closely with the NSA and said the German government had modified its interpretation of privacy laws to allow more flexibility in data sharing.
Originally posted by talklikeapirat
For me as a german, this story is of some significance, especially with upcoming elections in September [...]
If only for this reason alone, the Snowden saga has triggered a public debate which was well overdue.