Six years after leaking documents about the NSA’s massive surveillance activities, Edward Snowden believes the world is changing, according to cNETT, a foreign media outlet. He recognizes that people are paying more attention to privacy than ever before, but he still seems to want people to spend more time understanding specific “abuses” against them.
“People often get angry at the right people for the wrong reasons,” he said by video at the Global Web Summit in Lisbon on Monday. Snowden attacked big technology companies, saying they made people vulnerable by collecting data and allowing government access to it.
“These people are engaging in data abuse, especially when you look at Google, Amazon Facebook and its business model,” he says. However, they believe that every point of these is legal. Whether we’re talking about Facebook or the NSA, we’ve legalized the misuse of that person’s data through individuals. “
Google, Amazon and Facebook did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Snowden’s disclosure to reporters in 2013 of the NSA’s secret documents on the Prism surveillance program shows the extent to which the U.S. government and its allies have collected people’s data. He fled to Hong Kong and then to Russia, where he sought refuge. Snowden believes the world has a right to know what he knows – but as he claims he is not an obvious whistleblower.
As he says, he has always been a follower of the rules and has no bad habits – never drunk, never smokes. He had been working seriously for the intelligence services. So what caused all this to change?
“Many years later, all you find you’re doing is you’re in a conspiracy to violate your career vows on day one,” Snowden said. What do you do when you assume contractual obligations? “What do you do when the most powerful institutions in society become the most irresponsible institutions in society?” “
Among the documents he gave reporters were top-secret slides listing Apple, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, Facebook and a video chat company called PalTalk as partners in the monitoring program.
He said that while the government did not necessarily tell companies why they needed large amounts of data, they included “Faust-style deals” or “deals with the devil”. As companies begin to hand over the perfect record of private life to institutions that cannot be held accountable, tools originally used to protect the public are being used to attack the public, he said.
Snowden said he described centralisation of power as “the right-hand man of the same institution” when governments and businesses began to work together. The result, he says, is a degree of control and influence that raises questions about whether the gains are worth it.
“If you create an irresistible power, whether it’s held by Facebook or any government, then the question is, how will you regulate the expression of that power when it is used for the public and not for the public?” “
Mr Snowden also did not speak positively about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). He called it a “paper tiger” for failing to impose heavy fines for breaching data protection.
Critics say there have been several huge fines for breaching the GDPR since the legislation was enacted, including a 50 million euro fine for Google, a fine of 99.2 million pounds for Marriott and a fine of 183.4 million pounds for British Airways.
But Snowden argues that the problem with the regulation lies in its name. He said it should not regulate data protection, but rather data collection. “If we learn anything from mid-2013, we will eventually know that everything is going to leak,” he said. He wants to see the basic system of the Internet redesigned so that we need to share less data and therefore don’t have to trust every system or company we use. “We are the only ones who can protect ourselves,” he says. “