Famous NSA whistleblower recently tweeted a phrase in the Persian language that got netizens talking. It soon became clear in the comments sections that Edward Snowden’s Persian tweet was an Iranian proverb but nobody was sure what it meant. Some native speakers shared its literal translation but that didn’t clarify much because translations can be applied to different situations in many ways. So, they tried to guess what could be the occasion that prompted the ex-CIA consultant to specifically tweet a proverb in a language most commonly spoken in Iran.
What Could Edward Snowden’s Persian Tweet Mean?
According to the comments, the literal translation of Edward Snowden’s Persian tweet is “walls have mice and mice have ears”. It is similar to the same proverbs in almost all languages that say walls have ears. It means that people must be careful while discussing private matters as anyone could be listening and there’s always a chance of secrets getting leaked. However, tweeting the same in the Persian language is making folks speculate potential meanings, considering how aggressively Snowden advocates privacy.
Social media users shared many theories about this tweet based on the whistleblower’s history. Snowden is one of the Most Wanted Persons in the US and could face 30 years in prison for exposing that the governments of the world conduct human rights abuses through mass surveillance. Currently, he is living in Russia and Kremlin has also granted him indefinite permanent residency.
Some believed that he tweeted in another language because he could have been spied on by his adversaries while others thought that it could be to warn somebody who was a potential target of an attack (cyber or terror).
Is It Some Kind of Warning for Iran?
The nature of Edward Snowden’s Persian tweet is so cryptic that no one could say for sure what it implies. He could be just posting this randomly but at the same time, he’s not known for playing around. That’s one reason why some are assuming that it could be a warning for Iran that it may have a rat in its ranks, who is hearing things and leaking it to the political opposition of Iran.
In classified documents that Snowden leaked in 2013 contained information about the US, UK, and Israel’s joint intelligence efforts against Iranian targets. According to the reports, the leaked documents revealed that there was a lot of intelligence gathering activity around multiple incidents in Iran. One was the 2011 storming of the British Embassy in Tehran, the second was the discovery of computer virus FLAME (meant to slow down nuclear efforts of Iran), and third was the “support” for UN policy-makers during Iran’s nuclear negotiations with P5+1 (5 permanent members of United Nations Security Council: the US, the UK, China, France, and Russia; and Germany). It was largely hinted that the joint coalition was successful because of eavesdropping on unsuspecting Iranian targets.
Some folks assume that something like that could be happening again with Iran so Snowden is just warning the country to be aware and protects its national secrets
For the Privacy of General Users
Besides national concerns, the threats can also be cyber which are more likely to happen in the current age as they do damage without making destructive noise. Not only countries but even the general public is highly prone to cyber-attacks. It is one of the reasons why Snowden strongly promotes privacy as it is a huge issue these days. As can be seen from news reports, someone’s private messages, images, and videos are often getting leaked on the internet. Some leak it for profit while others just do it out of pure animosity to defame a person. Regardless, the users on social media must stay vigilant while conducting private business as ears can be anywhere. Some folks opined that Edward Snowden’s Persian tweet might just be for the general public (probably Iranian) to protect their privacy.
Snowden has greatly emphasized the need for holding tech giants accountable for the user data they keep. After Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, Snowden accused the big tech companies like Facebook and Google of allowing mass surveillance on their users and abusing their privacy rights. He even alleged that these were surveillance companies who rebranded themselves as social media, which was the second biggest deception after Departments of War became the Departments of Defense.
Due to so many possibilities, it is difficult to predict the exact motive of him tweeting this Iranian proverb.