An honorary doctorate for Edward Snowden?

In his expert report for the University of Rostock, Harald Müller endorses the proposed conferment of an honorary doctorate to the whistleblower

In early April, the University of Rostock will decide on whether it will confer an honorary doctorate to Edward Snowden.

PRIF's Executive Director Professor Dr Harald Müller endorses this proposal in his expert report he authored on behalf of the University of Rostock. 

To support his recommendation, Müller cites three research-related aspects of Snowden's actions that guarantee his enduring services to the social and political sciences:

(a) the (high-risk) provision of data for further research

(b) the posing of new questions that are highly relevant for democratic theory, the theories of International Relations and International Law

(c) providing crucial basic information for the self-assurance of research on the condition of its freedom in the digital age.

Müller's report also reflects upon the potential consequences of conferring the honorary doctorate to Edward Snowden concerning the position of research in the digital age and in the light of German-US relations.

Müller also comments on the scientific-ethic evaluation of a potential conferment. He concludes: "Research has reason to be grateful to Edward Snowden for the information he provided and his courage to accept the associated risks and constraints on his quality of life. The University of Rostock would set an example conferring him the honorary doctorate [...]."

The report was published in an abridged version as a guest contribution in the Frankfurter Rundschau on 25th February 2014.


The complete report as PDF (German only)


Photo: Laura Poitras / Praxis Films