Edward Snowden, former CIA contractor, declared during a debate regarding the NSA intelligence gathering programs that government surveillance has reached a new level. During the debate that took place in Toronto, Snowden declared that all the population is being motorized, meaning that the intelligence gathering programs make no discrimination when it comes to citizens taken as individuals:
“It’s no longer based on the traditional practice of targeted taps based on some individual suspicion of wrongdoing” Snowden said. “It covers phone calls, emails, texts, search history, what you buy, who your friends are, where you go, who you love.”
For a better understanding on the context, Snowden appeared via video link during a Munk debateover government surveillance in Toronto, that gathered the former US National Security Administration Director -General Michael Hayden, Professor Alan Dershowitz (Harvard law), Glen Greenwald and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.
During the debate Greenwald which previously worked with Snowden on leaked classified matterials on the NSA, apparently is an adept of the targeted surveillance and disagrees with the current method in use which is based on randomness. On the other side of the “surveillance van”, we have Hayden and Dershowitz who strongly sustained the necessity for these measures in order to ensure national security.
Snowden is currently under temporary political asylum in Russia since June of last year, that’s why he addressed the debate through a videoconference. He was forced to stay in Russia as Washington charged Snowden for espionage and issued also an extradition order.
Leaders from all over the world addressed criticism against Washington judging by the fact that Snowden’s security links shows that the NSA is targeting millions of citizens and foreign governments with its surveillance.
After she discovered last year that her personal communications were being followed by the NSA, German Chancellor Angela Merkel made some remarks regarding the similarities between the agency and the Stasi secret police of East Germany.
Friday it was the first time Merkel entered the White House since that incident adopting a more diplomatic aproach and said that “under present conditions” the US and Germany have “differences in opinion” to overcome.
After the Snowden revelations, US President Barrack Obama said during a press conference that it has made some changes to its domestic and international espionage policies
“Domestically, we tried to provide additional assurances to the American people that their privacy is protected. But what I’ve also done is taken the unprecedented step of ordering our intelligence community to take the privacy interests of non US persons into account in everything that they do,”