As part of the annual South by Southwest Interactive Festival which kicked off this past weekend in Austin, Texas (my current home), organizers set up a video skype conference with NSA mass-surveillance whistle-blower Edward Snowden
Snowden is currently in Russia, where he was granted asylum from the US government.
Here’s a few notable quotes from that interview. The full video is at the end.
- Snowden told attendees that they were “firefighters”, saying,
“The NSA … they’re setting fire to the future of the Internet…The result has been an adversarial Internet.”
- Discussing the nature of the surveillance:
“It’s nothing we asked for…It’s not something we wanted.”
- He dismissed the idea that his revelations have threatened our national security, saying,
“These things are improving national security. We rely on the ability to trust our communications.”
- He also said that the mass monitoring actually made threat prevention less effective:
“We’ve actually had tremendous intelligence failures because we’ve been monitoring everybody’s communications rather than suspects…What did we get from bulk collections? We got nothing.”
- He said that the checks on the power of our national intelligence community are ineffective:
“We have an oversight that could work. The overseers aren’t interested in oversight.”
- When asked if he would do it again, he replied,
“Would I do this again? The answer is absolutely yes. I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution and I saw that the Constitution was violated on a massive scale.”
Here’s the full video.
Read more from Yahoo! News here.