Snowden, from exile to The Guardian: No regrets
On the tenth anniversary of his groundbreaking revelation of top-secret US and UK intelligence, Snowden expresses concern over the status of cybersecurity.
Ten years after his groundbreaking revelation by handing over tens of thousands of classified UK and US intelligence documents to the US, Edward Snowden expressed concern over the status of cybersecurity in an interview with The Guardian.
Snowden has been in exile in Russia since 2013 after he had declassified documents of the American NSA and the British GCHQ reporting on the extent of intrusive surveillance of ordinary civilians by the two agencies.
Snowden remarked that he had no regrets in this regard citing positive changes in cybersecurity following his revelations.
Snowden cites end-to-end encryption technology as one of the major positive legacies of the 2013 revelations.
The leaks subjected Big Tech companies to public criticism for handing over personal data to the NSA. Big Tech companies were shamed into rushing toward implementing end-to-end encryption years before they had planned to.
Not only did the documents show that Big-tech cooperates with the NSA and the GCHQ, but also that the intelligence agencies had exploited vulnerabilities to gather data without the Big-Tech administration's knowledge of it.
Snowden described end-to-end encryption as a pipe dream in 2013 after the groundbreaking revelation of the NSA and GCHQ documents.
“An enormous fraction of global internet traffic traveled electronically naked. Now, it is a rare sight.”
“The idea that after the revelations in 2013, there would be rainbows and unicorns the next day is not realistic. It is an ongoing process. And we will have to be working at it for the rest of our lives and our children’s lives and beyond,” Snowden remarked.
However, besides the breakthrough implementation of end-to-end encryption, Snowden expressed his frustration that other technological advancements could hold the potential for encroaching on individuals' privacy in both the physical and virtual worlds.
He expressed concerns over the dangers posed by modern technology, which not only Big Tech and governments have access to, but is also commercially available for anyone to buy: like video surveillance cameras, facial recognition, artificial intelligence, and intrusive spyware such as Pegasus.
“We trusted the government not to screw us. But they did. We trusted the tech companies not to take advantage of us. But they did. That is going to happen again because that is the nature of power.”
Last year, Edward Snowden explained that he is in Russia because the White House canceled his passport to "trap" him there, accusing the US of continuing to interfere with his freedom of movement.
"I'm in Russia because the White House intentionally canceled my passport to trap me here. They *downed the President of Bolivia's diplomatic aircraft* to prevent me from leaving, and continue to interfere with my freedom of movement to this day," he wrote on Twitter.
Snowden's lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, announced that Snowden, who leaked classified information on the US' digital surveillance programs, formally became a Russian citizen back in December, taking an oath of allegiance and receiving a Russian passport.