The Archive

This Archive is a complete collection of all documents that former NSA contractor Edward Snowden disclosed in June 2013 to journalists Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill, and subsequently were published by news media, such as The Guardian, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Der Speigel, Le Monde, El Mundo and The Intercept. The leaked documents and their coverage have raised significant public concerns and had a major impact upon intelligence policy debates internationally over issues of freedom of expression, privacy, national security and democratic governance more broadly.

The Archive also contains some documents that the U.S. Government has published which are helpful in understanding the leaked documents. The Archive does not contain any documents that have not already been published in other sources. The curators of the Archive have no special access to documents that are not already in the public domain.

The approximately 400 documents currently in the Archive are sourced principally from the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF) NSA Primary Sources. In addition to following media coverage looking for new document publication, we also consult the American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) NSA Documents, Cryptome’s Snowden Tally and the Courage Foundation's, Snowden Revelations. While each of these repositories provide some capabilities for search, this Archive is distinctive in providing:

The documents in this Archive are a small fraction of the estimated 50,000 documents Snowden turned over. Most of these will likely not be published, but as new documents are published, we will add them to the Archive.

Any redactions found in the documents have been made by the media outlets that first published the documents.

The descriptions contained in this Archive are the work of archivists, interested amateurs in the area of state intelligence without detailed insight into the legal and technological issues that the documents describe. If you spot any potential inaccuracies or have suggestions to make, we encourage you to contact the curators, who will endeavor to improve the collection.

Creating the Archive

The Snowden Archive project was initiated by Prof. Andrew Clement, University of Toronto, in collaboration with Laura Tribe of the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE).

The Archive was designed and built by George Raine and Jillian Harkness, a graduate and student respectively of the Master of Information program, Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto.


The Snowden Archive is built on Greenstone, an open source suite of software for building and distributing digital library collections. Greenstone is produced by the New Zealand Digital Library Project at the University of Waikato, and developed and distributed in cooperation with UNESCO and the Human Info NGO.

Project Partners

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE)

The Politics of Surveillance Project in the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto. Led by Prof. Andrew Clement, this is a sub-project of The New Transparency: Surveillance and Social Sorting project, based at Queens University, Prof. David Lyon principal investigator.


Surveillance Studies Centre, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Queens University
Digital Curation Institute, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto
Centre for Freedom of Expression, Faculty of Communications and Design, Ryerson University


Support for the initial development of the Archive came from The New Transparency: Surveillance and Social Sorting, a 7 year Major Collaborative Research Initiative funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

The Snowden Archive in a Box

The Snowden Archive-in-a-Box is an autonomous version of the Internet-based archive Snowden Digital Surveillance Archive. It is a stand-alone wifi network and web server that permits you to research all files leaked by Edward Snowden and subsequently published by the media. The purpose of the portable archive is to provide end-users with a secure off-line method for individuals to use this database without the threat of mass surveillance. By default, the wifi network is open, but users can create their own wifi passwords and choose their encryption standard.

The Snowden Archive-in-a-Box began as part of an evolving and touring European project called Performigrations which focuses on migration/immigration and was launched in Montreal at the Blue Metropolis literary festival in April 2015. An evolving project in its own right, the Snowden Archive-in-a-Box also includes a surveillance demonstration apparatus that monitors wifi traffic around it and plays it back to the public.

The Snowden Archive-in-a-Box is based on a RaspberryPi 2 mini-computer and the Raspbian operating system. All software is open-source. The most basic setup will run on one RaspberryPi. A more extravagant version may incorporate high-quality battery packs for power autonomy, the wifi sniffer (running on a 2nd RaspberryPi), and a flat-screen for playing back IP traffic.

Here you will find all the information you need to build your own Portable Snowden Surveillance Archive, examples of archives built by other people, and information about occasional public appearances.


We welcome your feedback. If you think we are missing any documents in the archive, spot errors, or otherwise have comments and suggestions to make, please contact us at: cjfe@cjfe.org