Now Surveillance 'aggressive-invasive': Snowden

Edward Snowden - CitizenFour documentary still

Former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) analyst Edward Snowden, known for revealing the extent of surveillance by US intelligence, has said that this form of surveillance is "more aggressive and invasive today than it was before".

Edward Snowden spoke via video feed from Russia, March 11, 2016 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He, and the director and journalist, Laura Poitras were interviewed by journalist Brian Lehrer.

Snowden made the statement in Moscow, where he has been granted asylum after being accused of espionage for revealing secret surveillance programmes of the US government.

The Snowden interview spanned a range of topics, including the current dispute between the FBI and Apple, which has refused to comply with a court order requiring it to help unlock an iPhone used by one of the shooters in the San Bernardino terror attack. Mr. Snowden said he was convinced that the FBI could unlock the phone on its own by “attacking” the hardware, and that it didn’t need Apple’s software.

Snowden said that not only the US has used these methods of mass surveillance, but also the Spanish, French, German and British governments because "it is cheap, easy and useful", Efe news agency reported.

“We have these programs of mass surveillance, that are monitoring everybody, everywhere, regardless of whether they have done anything wrong,” Mr. Snowden said.

“The government says this is just billing records, you shouldn’t really worry about it. But when you have a perfect record of all private lives, in aggregate, this permits intelligence agents to create what is called a pattern of life. This is when you got up … this is what you did when you got up. This is where you went to work. And how. And where you traveled. This metadata is largely the equivalent of what a private eye would know about if they were following you around and writing everything you did down.

“They couldn’t sit close enough to you at every cafe to hear everything you said. But if they hang back just a little bit, they will be able to see you without you noticing. And create a perfect record of all your associations.

“This is important … a violation of our constitution. An argument can be made for that … But the founders of this nation were concerned exactly about this kind of power.”

If that is what the country wants, Mr. Snowden said, it “should amend constitution, not do it in secret.”

According to Snowden, terrorism has been used to provide a justification for the use of this mass surveillance. "It was diplomatic manipulation, economic spying and social control. It was about power, and there is no doubt that mass surveillance increases the power of the government," he said.

He recalled that the result of an investigation ordered by US President Barack Obama on this type of surveillance found that it had not been effective in the fight against terrorism.

When asked about the possibility of returning to his country, Snowden said that he tried to reach an agreement by requesting a fair trial but the government responded with a letter promising not to torture him.

Snowden said he doubted that the Spanish government and the Spanish intelligence services (CNI) did not know about or were not involved in the mass surveillance, which he believes took place in Spain.
Yahoo: http://bit.ly/21xfatu

WSJ: http://on.wsj.com/1R1ej1p

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