After months of leaks through media chosen by Edward J. Snowden, the former NSA contractor who stole files from the US government provided insight today on his thoughts and motivation via a live online chat session.
Snowden left the US last May with computer files of hundreds of U.S. documents claiming he was a whistleblower for the secretive metadata collection of phone numbers which included American citizens.
Today in the online chat session he responded to a question regaring his position of the Obama whistleblowing protection act by explaining that the protection laws in the US does not protect contractors in the national security area. There are holes in the laws and protections are too weak and ineffective.
Snowden states that: ‘I made tremendous efforts to report these programs to co-workers, supervisors, and anyone with the proper clearance who would listen.’ The reaction to those he had told about the constitutional violations ranged from concern to appall but no one was willing to risk their jobs and families.
When asked what an appropriate US national security apparatus is, he replied, ‘Not all spying is bad.’ The problem lies in the new technique of indiscriminate mass surveillance, where the governments seize billions of innocent communication every single day. Technology makes it easy and cheap to do mass collection.
Snowden sees the problem as ‘global’, and ‘America needs to take the lead in fixing it.’ Using an efficient means to snooping is a poor precedent to set as any dictator can perform indiscriminate, dragnet surveillance on the entire population that the NSA is doing. ‘There’s no excuse to wasting our time collecting the call records of grandmothers in Missouri.’
When Snowden was asked if it was poor timing that Obama gave his speech on the NSA prior to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight board report, he responded, ‘The timing of his speech seems particularly interesting, given that it was accompanied by so many claims that ‘these programs have been abused.’
There is still no specific instance given when the program directly contributed to the discovery of an unknown terrorist plot or attack but the NSA program collected millions of metadata of phone numbers.
As a help to encrypting emails and applying security Snowden said that strong encryption works. What you need to do is worry about the endpoints, as pre-encryption plaintext can be stolen. He advises that, ‘By combining robust endpoint security with transport security, people can have much greater confidence in their day to day communications.
Does Snowden feel that our democracy can recover from the damage NSA spying have done to our liberties? His reply is, ‘Yes. What makes our country strong is our system of values, not a snapshot of the structure of our agencies or the framework of our laws.’
Snowden was asked under what conditions would he agree to return to the US, to which he replied: ‘Returning to the US, I think, is the best resolution for the government, the public, and myself, but it’s unfortunately not possible in the face of current whistleblower protection laws, which through a failure in law did not cover national security contractors like myself.’
To find more information on the events of Snowden’s situation, please, view the articles below in Author’s suggestions and view the video atop this article.