WASHINGTON - An avalanche of intelligence leaks from former CIA contractor Edward Snowden sent shockwaves around the world in 2013, lifting the lid on a vast global spying network and raising fears of a surveillance state.
As the year drew to a close, the 30-year-old Snowden remains exiled in Russia, his final port of call following a worldwide game of cat-and-mouse that appeared to come straight from the pages of a spy novel.
A traitor to some, a heroic whistleblower to others: Snowden's disclosures have shed light on intelligence-gathering methods which shocked many through their sheer scale.
Tens of thousands of documents leaked by Snowden to The Guardian newspaper and other media outlets have detailed the nature of the National Security Agency's (NSA's) hitherto shadowy activities.
The fugitive Snowden, Time's runner-up behind Pope Francis for its person of the year, told the magazine he hoped the leaks would lead to greater transparency by governments.
"What we recoil most strongly against is not that such surveillance can theoretically occur, but that it was done without a majority of society even being aware it was possible," he said via email in a rare interview.