Nearly one year to the day since the National Security Agency’s secret spy programs were first exposed through leaked documents, the man responsible or those disclosures has come out and endorsed a new anti-surveillance campaign.
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden — the source of a trove of classified documents that since last June have revealed the inner workings of the United States intelligence community’s vast surveillance apparatus — issued a statement on Wednesday this week in support of the ‘Reset the Net’ campaign scheduled for Thursday, exactly one year after the first news stories stemming from his cache of leaked documents were published.
As RT reported previously, several major internet companies, including Reddit, Mozilla and Google, are planning on participating in Thursday’s event by promoting privacy, security and encryption tools on their respective websites. Now in a statement from Snowden himself delivered through his lawyer to the Reset the Net campaign, the NSA leaker says: “Join us on June 5th, and don’t ask for your privacy. Take it back.”
"One year ago, we learned that the internet is under surveillance, and our activities are being monitored to create permanent records of our private lives — no matter how innocent or ordinary those lives might be,” Snowden’s statement begins.
“Today, we can begin the work of effectively shutting down the collection of our online communications, even if the US Congress fails to do the same. That’s why I’m asking you to join me on June 5th for Reset the Net, when people and companies all over the world will come together to implement the technological solutions that can put an end to the mass surveillance programs of any government. This is the beginning of a moment where we the people begin to protect our universal human rights with the laws of nature rather than the laws of nations,” he added.
On the official Reset the Net site, campaign organizers say that the NSA is exploiting security flaws in the infrastructure of the web to violate the privacy of all those who connect to the internet. Indeed, leaked documents supplied to the media during the last year by Mr. Snowden have, in fact, revealed evidence that the NSA and its foreign counterparts have relied on weak encryption and security standards in order to gain access to communications assumed to be private.
In Wednesday’s statement, Snowden said that implementing the right tools and knowledge could make it that much harder for the government to conduct these surveillance campaigns.
“We have the technology, and adopting encryption is the first effective step that everyone can take to end mass surveillance. That’s why I am excited for Reset the Net — it will mark the moment when we turn political expression into practical action, and protect ourselves on a large scale,” he said.
Snowden, 30, revealed himself as the source of the leaked documents on June 9, 2013 — four days after the first articles based off of his disclosures were published by The Guardian and Washington Post newspapers. Nearly a year later this past March, he told an audience at the South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, Texas that while the NSA has exploited a number of glitches to conduct this surveillance, encryption tools can without a doubt complicate matters.
“Let’s put it this way,” Snowden said at the time. “The United States government has assembled a massive investigation team into me personally, into my work with the journalists, and they still have no idea what documents were provided to the journalist, what they have, what they don’t have, because encryption works.”