Edward Snowden: ‘A permanent record of our every move is being created’
David Rogers | Staff Writer
Since Facebook has been exposed for its breach of data, leaving most of us aware of just how little privacy we in fact have, Edward Snowden has backed up our worst fears.
In an interview with The Guardian, the famous U.S. informant believes that “the US and other governments, aided by the big internet companies, are moving towards creating a permanent record of everyone on earth, recording the whole of their daily lives.”
The American whistleblower reportedly copied and leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013 when he was a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee and subcontractor. His disclosures revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA and the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments, and prompted a cultural discussion about national security and individual privacy.
He told The Guardian, “The greatest danger still lies ahead, with the refinement of artificial intelligence capabilities, such as facial and pattern recognition.
“An AI-equipped surveillance camera would be not a mere recording device, but could be made into something closer to an automated police officer.”
Snowden’s interview comes as his new book, Permanent Record, was published today. Snowden is being sued by the U.S. Government for his royalties from what is expected to be an international bestseller.
In 2013, Snowden was hired by an NSA contractor, Booz Allen Hamilton, after previous employment with Dell and the CIA. Snowden says he gradually became disillusioned with the programs with which he was involved and that he tried to raise his ethical concerns through internal channels but was ignored.
On May 20, 2013, Snowden flew to Hong Kong after leaving his job at an NSA facility in Hawaii, and in early June he revealed thousands of classified NSA documents to journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Ewen MacAskill. Snowden came to international attention after stories based on the material appeared in The Guardian and The Washington Post. Further disclosures were made by other publications including Der Spiegel and The New York Times.
On Snowden’s 30th birthday, June 21, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed charges against Snowden of two counts of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and theft of government property, following which the Department of State revoked his passport. Two days later, he flew into Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, where Russian authorities noted that his U.S. passport had been cancelled, and he was restricted to the airport terminal for over one month.
Russia later granted Snowden the right of asylum with an initial visa for residence for one year, and repeated extensions have permitted him to stay at least until 2020. In early 2016, he became the president of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a San Francisco-based organization that states its purpose is to protect journalists from hacking and government surveillance. As of 2017 he is married and living in Moscow after Russia offered to protect him from extradition back to America.
In 2016, Oliver Stone made the movie ‘Snowden,’ which documented his time at the NSA leaking documents out of the organization, as well as his exile to Hong Kong, and finally, Russia.
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