Some people just have a little bit more in the guts department, huh? After President Obama's Wednesday signing of an executive order on cyber-security, which some interpreted as barring donations to Edward Snowden, one unhappy young man decided to issue a startling demand: 28-year-old Oregon software programmer Kristopher Ives asked President Obama to arrest him, after donating some Bitcoin to the famed NSA leaker.
Now, the donation wasn't much, sure — as detailed by The Oregonian, it was the equivalent of just 33 cents. As of this writing, that's about 0.001 worth of Bitcoin (a full Bitcoin is currently valued at just over $250). But as Ives told the paper, "it's the principle of the matter." Namely, he regards Snowden as a hero for his public disclosure of NSA surveillance programs, a not-uncommon opinion in spite of the Obama administration's obvious hostility and ongoing pursuit of him.
Making a political statement though a maybe-kinda-violation of an executive order is one thing, of course, but it's another thing to publicly ask the President of the United States to take action against you. And that's precisely what Ives did when he posted his challenge on Reddit, stating his name and phone number, and challenging the government to have him arrested.
Now, obviously, it seems pretty damn unlikely that anything would ever actually happen to Ives over this. The advantage of this sort of call-out, such as it is, is that he's not at all a high-profile figure, and even if the administration did believe they'd barred donations to Snowden, it's hard to say whether they're going to be all-in on policing random Reddit threads (although obviously, by talking to The Oregonian, Ives upped his visibility a little bit further).
And besides, it's entirely possible that the administration's enforcement of the order won't hurt would-be Snowden backer anyways — as Motherboard's Joshua Kopstein detailed, the issue isn't specific language against Snowden, it's the vagueness of what constitutes prohibited cyber activities.
But it feels like it's inflamed a sort of perfect storm of constituencies at the same. There's something about the blend of impassioned Edward Snowden supporters and tech-savvy digital currency enthusiasts that feels like such a perfect fit. And for what it's worth, Ives is far from the only person who's taken up this cause — according to crypto-currency hub CoinTelegraph, donations to Snowden's fund surged after the order was announced, with over 200 donations in just 24 hours.