On April 8th, Edward Snowden spoke to the Council of Europe about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs. The European ministers we’re told that surveillance was constant and extended virtually everywhere.
Snowden, is considered to have given up his freedom for the burden of unveiling this information to the world. His main objective has been to spark a change in this spying free for all that he describes as a dangerous regime of information that, if not stopped, threatens the freedom of all governments and people.
Still sheltered in Russia, Snowden was displayed on a large projector in real-time, to all the ministers gathered together. U.S. authorities were also invited with open arms to the committee, but obviously declined to the regret of the European Council. Snowden did not reveal anything new about PRISM and as always, declines commenting on any journalistic press related to leaked documents of his.
Edward Snowden has serious concerns about his freedom and security. He had a lawyer ready to advise if any questions could not be answered by his client at this time. In his introduction, he explains his limitations to talk about certain subjects are not due to lack of knowledge but for the purpose of avoiding further legal pursuits against him by the U.S. government. He defends his actions as being for the betterment of his government and freedom of his people, not to harm his country.
Snowden explained the NSA will create an algorithm to track any group of individuals without any warrant of any kind. Without any oversight, they adopt a guilt by association policy that is used to collect any type of data and track anyone as they please. Whatever they judge as valuable information, they go after. He listed various random tags that are used to track and group specific common traits in individuals and so on. All to draw an image of how advanced and targeted the data collection surveillance has already grown to be.
Snowden answered questions asked by the council as well as responding to questioning Europe’s engagement to face these data security challenges, stressing the fact that the issue is global and not just between the U.S. and Europe. These programs are already in place and being used every day globally. He listed some real world cases such as, fingerprint collection data to track, monitor and intercept EU citizens traveling, specific Swiss lines were monitored, to even tracking people who visit certain sites, links or forums. Once someone visits one of these sites or downloads a file, whether accidental or not, they becomes tracked by their surveillance systems.
We hope this briefing will bring strong action from European officials and that the cowboys at NSA start getting called to answer the hard questions themselves. We hope that the U.S. government will only be able to continue to hide for so long.
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