recommended reading

Snowden Petition Shows Many Paths to a White House Response

Kin Cheung/AP


By Joseph Marks and Kedar Pavgi June 25, 2013

recent posts

News of Edward Snowden’s U.S. indictment and flight from Hong Kong helped push the White House petition to pardon the admitted National Security Agency leaker over the 100,000 signatures needed for an official response this week.

The petition on the White House’s We the People site had about 119,000 signatures Tuesday afternoon.

That post-indictment bump was a bit of a rarity for the 21-month-old We the People site.

Since the White House raised the threshold for an administration response to 100,000 signatures in one month in January, petitions have tended to find only two routes to success: Either they go viral in a big way for a few days and then taper to nothing or they climb slowly over the course of the month.

Petitions rarely lose momentum and then pick up again. But that’s precisely what the Snowden petition did. It dropped from 28,000 daily signatures the day after Snowden was revealed as the leaker on June 9 to fewer than 1,000 signatures on June 20. Then it bolted back up to 11,000 daily signatures on June 22, the day after the indictment came out.

You can check out a velocity graph of the Snowden petition signatures here.

We’ve compared it with an unanswered petition alleging fraud in Malaysia’s May 5 general election that went rapidly viral before tapering off. 

Joseph Marks

Joseph Marks covers cybersecurity for Nextgov. He previously covered cybersecurity for Politico, intellectual property for Bloomberg BNA and federal litigation for Law360. He covered government technology for Nextgov during an earlier stint at the publication and began his career at Midwestern newspapers covering everything under the sun. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and a master’s in international affairs from Georgetown University.

Kedar Pavgi

Kedar Pavgi is an M.A. candidate at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies. He was previously a Digital Editor at Defense One, and has worked at Government Executive, and Foreign Policy magazine. He has written for The Diplomat, The World Politics Review, and the Foreign Policy Association. He received his bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary, where he studied economics and international relations.


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.