Image by Mike Herbst
Former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden said that the global surveillance being done by intelligence agencies is “setting fire to the future of the Internet,” and the general public are the “firefighters” needed to fix this issue.
In a packed convention in Austin at the South by Southwest Interactive Conference on Monday, March 10, the leaker, via a choppy Google Hangout session, urged computing experts to bolster the encryption system today to protect data more.
Snowden said that it is “defense against the dark arts in the digital realm.”
“We spent all this money, we spent all this time hacking into Google’s and Facebook’s back end to look at their databases. What did we get out of that? We got nothing,” said the former NSA contractor, citing examples such as the Boston Marathon bombing, through which the government could have tracked the suspects immediately had they allocated resources correctly.
The SXSW is the first live appearance of the whistleblower in front of an audience, apart from a handful of interviews to select media outfits.
The right act
Snowden was asked to assess the relevance of his exposés as a final question.
“Regardless of what happens to me, this is something we had a right to know. I took an oath to support and defend the constitution, and I saw the constitution was violated on a massive scale,” he said.