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:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

  • 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.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.


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