Mar 11, 2014

Snowden: mass surveillance is failing us, and we can defeat it

Edward Snowden's two public 'appearances' this week have expanded the debate on both the utility of mass surveillance and how ordinary internet users can defeat it.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

In two key public messages this week, US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden has outlined the case against mass surveillance and how it can be defeated through greater use of encryption.

Overnight, Snowden made a rare public appearance via videolink to the SXSW technology conference in Texas (pictured). Earlier this week, he gave written testimony, including answers to questions, to a European Union parliamentary inquiry into mass surveillance. His appearance at SXSW, via a series of proxies to hide his location within Russia (officials in US intelligence agencies have openly discussed wanting to kill him), had been opposed by a US congressman who demanded the appearance be stopped.

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10 thoughts on “Snowden: mass surveillance is failing us, and we can defeat it

  1. The Pav

    In granting the draconian powers to security agencies nobody in power has been able to guarantee safety which would perhaps mitigate against the loss of personal liberty.

    What I can guarantee is that when security agencies and the like are granted these extraordinary powers they will, without fail, abuse them.

    They cannot be trusted as ultimately the powers will corrupt them for no real gain

  2. SPDY

    It’s wise to look at these issues from multiple perspectives.

    One key aspect is his two syllable second name, Snowden. Snow is the first syllable and den is the second syllable.

    Edward is his first name, also two syllables.

    So, we have.. Ed Would Snow Them ( den ).

  3. Brackenburg

    “Snowden invokes both the so-called “underwear b-mber” in 2009 and last year’s Boston Marathon b-mbing as examples of how US intelligence services were given advance warning of potential t-rrorists through traditional sources and failed to act.”

    I find it very strange that Snowden would validate two incidents that we know to have the spectre of pshyops hanging over them.

  4. Brendan Jones

    Still off the radar of most people: The DTCA which is a major hit on academic freedom and business confidentiality.

    It’s mass surveillance of the commercial kind. You must tell the public service what you are doing, and seek permits from them to communicate about your work with others. If you communicate without a permit – thanks to metadata they will spot it quickly – you are up for 10 years jail and by law your research is forfeited to the Commonwealth.

    Academics are slowly waking up to the fact this really will happen, but high-tech businesses are blithely unaware of what they are in for.

    More here:

  5. klewso

    Take out the human element and it would probably work quite well?
    Look at Iraq/WMDs?

  6. AR

    Given that Hannah Arendt’s opinion of a functionary is currently au courant I’m not putting too much faith in “Tech industry workers have a responsibility to fight the “fire” of mass surveillance.
    Ho9w often have we seen “trahison des clercs”.
    Eric Blair’s seminal work did NOT portray a world under total surveillance – hence he & others of the apparatchik class would slope off to the worker ‘burbs for a little … relief.
    Mr & Mrs Pooter will always vote against their own interests, through fear & perversity, even as the truncheons beat them towards the ballot box.

  7. Drew Bright

    “So, we have.. Ed Would Snow Them ( den )” SPDY

    Hmmm, coincidence or stage name? I know that when Hollywood hopefuls apply for their big gig their agents sometimes change their names to some type of decriptive local denominative that suggests their tendencies or potential.

    But maybe you’re a bridge too far on this one.

  8. Marissa Havito

    All I know is that most of the information, or at least inference of information released due to Snowden had been on the blogisphere for around two to three years prior.

    Even Cr-key’s own commentors were writing the same stuff four years ago.

    And how do you go from being a high school drop out to a highly ranked IT expert with the CIA in a few short years?

    I think it’s case of owning the problem or at least both sides of the problem and coming clean for an international fix.

    There are things that just don’t add up. He left a $200,000 a year job, a beautiful girlfriend, family, to live in Moscow and tell the world what we already knew.

    Beware the catcher in the rye.

  9. Plane Site

    Mr/Mrs SPYD.

    I hit the search engines with ” So, we have.. Ed Would Snow Them ( den )” and found absolutely nothing.

    You are either an onomatologist or a body language expert.

    But don’t expect anyone here to value it. There’s a thing called a Journalists code of ethics. Never ruin a good story with the facts.

  10. condel

    To SPDY,


    Ed Wood – Plan 9

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