Sunday, October 1

They’re spying on you: 10 years later, Snowden’s warnings are more relevant than ever

“I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong.” On June 9, 2013, exactly 10 years ago, Edward Snowden was discovered as the author of the “most serious leak of classified information in the history of the intelligence community of USA“, as declared at the time by high commands of the INC. Four days earlier, ‘The Guardian’ and ‘The Washington Post’ began to publish the secret documents provided by the 29-year-old analyst, sparking a global scandal that exposed the world’s security systems. mass surveillance of the US government.

Hiding then in Hong Kong, Snowden explained to the press that he decided to risk his life and expose the dirty laundry of the most powerful country in the world after seeing how the National Security Agency (NSAfor its acronym in English) was capable of intercepting emails, calls, credit cards and everything that until then citizens considered part of their privacy. An omnipresent eye that sees everything and from which there is no place to hide. “I don’t want to live in a society that does this kind of thing. I don’t want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That’s something I’m not willing to support or live with,” he confessed.

A decade later, Snowden’s warnings are more relevant than ever. And not precisely because they managed to put an end to the espionage against the citizens. “Technology has become something enormously influential. If we think about what we saw in 2013 and the capabilities of current governments, 2013 seems like child’s play,” he has now explained to the British newspaper.

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Surveillance continues

Snowden’s first major leak revealed that the NSA, the largest intelligence agency in the US, had direct access to data streams. data of giants of Internet as Google, Manzana, Facebook, Microsoft either Youtube through the so-called program PRISM. Ten years later, the law that allowed intercepting the communication of foreigners without legal permission —Article 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Law— is still in force. In December that permit expires and both the Administration Biden as part of the Republicans, he wants to renew it so that his surveillance power remains intact.

A decade of technological development goes a long way. The tentacles of digital espionage are now much more elongated and, beyond surveillance capitalism, they take shape with security systems. facial recognition or the spread of malicious computer programs such as Pegasus. “The US government continues to spy in ways that in some cases are worse or more extreme than what we were able to reveal in Snowden’s reporting,” he explained. Glenn Greenwald, one of the journalists who uncovered the scandal. Concerned by this oppressive reality, Snowden has developed tools for journalists and activists to circumvent censorship, especially in totalitarian regimes.

His legacy

The revelations have also produced positive changes. One of the main legacies of the now digital activist is the normalization of the end-to-end encryption that protects telecommunications. “(In 2013) a huge fraction of global internet traffic traveled electronically naked. Now, it’s a rare thing to see,” he told journalist Ewen MacAskill.

The scandal has led to increased awareness. Even US and UK intelligence have recognized the benefit that the leaks have brought to the global privacy debate. Those same agencies have reiterated that the leak of classified documents caused “damage”, although they have not provided any evidence of this. Even so, the risks of surveillance continue to grow. “We will have to be working on it for the rest of our lives and those of our children and beyond,” he warned again.

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Snowden chose to reveal his identity even though he knew it could land him in jail, as happened to Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning. “You can’t go up against the most powerful intelligence agencies in the world and not accept the risk. If they want to get you, eventually they will,” she said. He missed that prediction, though if he were to end up captured by the US he could face up to 30 years behind bars.

Yes when he said, “I don’t expect to see my home again.” After fleeing Hong Kong, she took refuge in Russia, where he has lived since then, an option that has earned him criticism. In recent years, he has cut back on his public appearances to protect his wife and his two children. His life is much more difficult than it was in 2013, when he worked for US intelligence in Hawaii. Even so, Snowden is clear: “I do not regret anything.”

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