Edward Snowden

Snowden on Trump: Privacy Bigger than a Single Election or Government

Whistleblower doesn't worry about whether there will be a deal for his return.

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Snowden
StartPage

Donald Trump famously called mass surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden a traitor and promised that if he became president, he would negotiate for Snowden's return from Russia with Putin. And in at least one interview Trump threatened to treat Snowden the way America treated traitors "in the good old days when we were a strong country," which is to say, execute him.

And now Trump is our president-elect. So when Snowden participated in a video conference interview today hosted by Dutch search engine StartPage (which emphasizes the privacy of your searches), everybody wanted to know what Snowden thought of Trump's election.

People might be surprised to discover that Snowden was neither quaking in his boots, nor was he actually openly contemptuous of Trump, despite what Trump may think of him.

From Snowden's perspective, the issue of data privacy and protection is much, much bigger than whoever gets picked to hang out in the Oval Office. America is not the alpha and omega of privacy rules and intrusive government surveillance.

"What we need to start thinking about now is not how to defend against a President Trump, but how defend people everywhere," Snowden said. If the president of the United States is not open or is even actively hostile to protecting tech privacy, then it falls upon private citizens and the tech sector to work out other solutions. "We could guarantee through technology. This election reminds us that capability is within our reach, and we don't just have the right to try, but a duty."

He reminded the audience that when President Barack Obama ran for office, he promised that there would be surveillance reform, and that didn't really happen until Snowden gave the public the information necessary to force the issue. "We should be cautious to put too much faith or fear in the work of elected officials. At the end of the day, this is just the president."

His suggestion given the increased government approval of surveillance tools (not just in the United States, but in Europe as well) that consumers looks for particular companies that are willing to protect data privacy with tools like end-to-end encryption and not just hope for politicians to fix the problem. "This will only be the work of the people," he explained. "Politicians do what they think will gain them support." He also encouraged listeners to support and donate to causes and expert groups that educate and fight (and sue) for tech privacy.

As for what comes next for Snowden, he said he wasn't worried too much, though he's very aware of the relationship between Trump and the Russian government. But Russia has declared Snowden to be a human rights defender and they have a policy of not extraditing such people.

If Snowden did end up being forced back home against his will he still said he was proud of what he had done, and if he was concerned about his safety, he never would have left his job in Hawaii to blow the whistle in the first place.

"I have more ability to change the world for the better today than when I was working for the NSA," he said. "I can give a voice to the side of the NSA that's forbidden from speaking."

Below, watch Nick Gillespie's interview with Snowden back in February:

NEXT: Most Voters Expect Trump to be a Terrible President, But Thought Clinton Would Have Been Worse

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  1. Snowden on Trump: Privacy Bigger than a Single Election or Government

    Oh check out Mr. Diplomacy here! You keep talking like this, Snowden, and you’ll be handed your hat and be told to stand on the ‘X’ over the Cindy Sheehan/Julian Assange trap door.

    1. One thing that doesn’t seem to be being talked about much after the election…

      Many here have observed that perhaps the left’s leopards will all of a sudden change their spots regarding foreign intervention and limiting the power of the presidency after a Trump win.

      Perhaps (and hopefully), the leftists will also polish off their tinfoil hats with regard to privacy, encryption, and whistleblowing when it’s Trump’s death squads that are the ones spying on them.

      Would Silicon Valley be more likely to roll over and offer their collective taints to a Hillary or Trump run administration?

      Considering WikiLeaks’ roll in the election, it would be absolutely delicious to see Trump offer a hat tip to Assange in some way, if possible.

      Obviously less likely that Trump’ll do anything for Snowden or Manning, but perhaps the left will at least bring this shit up now.

  2. We need to deport this Snowden guy!

    1. Yeah, send him back to where he came from!

  3. Snowden is too much of an asset (a genuine US dissident) for the Russian government to send him back to the US for anything less than accepting that Crimea is a part of Russia.

    1. But if Archduke Ferdinand gets assassinated by The Black Hand (Racist!), the shit’s gonna hit the fan!

      1. It was Young Bosnians!

        Black Hand knew how to kill a ruler and his wife Without turning the process into total clown show.

        Also restart your god damn server, Trump won two days ago!

  4. I’m not holding my breath, but wouldn’t it be positively delicious if Trump pardoned Snowden, Manning, and Ross Ulbricht just to troll Obama?

    1. Peyton or Eli?

      1. Eli of course. He ruined the perfect season.

        1. All Patriots agree!

    2. I hope Trump just throws his feet up on the Oval Office desk and ask only to be disturbed when there is some social function. If he does nothing but rub elbows and party, I’ll be happy.

    3. Term’s not over yet… it’d be more delicious if he trolled Obama into doing it, himself.

    4. Absolutely, and Assange too. Not that he will do it, but he’s making a great mistake if he doesn’t. Another slap in the face of progressive retards, and man do they have it coming.

      1. I don’t think there’s anything to pardon Assange for (in the United States).

        Point of order – aren’t pardons *post-conviction*? Shouldn’t he be offering Snowden and Assange *amnesties*?

    5. It’s as plausible as Obama issuing an Executive Order stating that out-of-state health insurance plans cannot be banned.

  5. What does Snowden live on? Is he getting donations? Are the Russians paying his living expenses?

    1. Paid speeches given by video.

      1. THanks. Since he had to run from President Peace Prize, I was wondering how he supports himself.

    2. Two crusts of bread a day and a mug of water containing a demoralized ice cube.

      1. How do you demoralized an ice cube? What does an ice cube have to be moral about?

        1. Ask Ice-Nine about the extinction of the Human Race.

          1. +1 Bokonon.

        2. “How do you demoralized an ice cube? ”

          He’d probably be pretty bummed if no one watched his movies.

        3. How do you demoralized an ice cube? What does an ice cube have to be moral about?

          Global warming of course.

  6. Ed rocks.

    1. Fuck the gales of November.

    2. Damn, shoulda known it was today.

      Thanks for the remind, Warren.

      1. Man, I wished I’d linked to that!

        1. Makes you want to just sit at the table with a bottle of whatever and ponder.

  7. “If the president of the United States is not open or is even actively hostile to protecting tech privacy, then it falls upon private citizens and the tech sector to work out other solutions.”

    This is something I’ve only recently started thinking about myself. Snowden is absolutely right.

    Everybody should know about Qubes, Whonix, Tor browsers, how to hide your IP address from your own programs, how to hide you mac address, secure and encrypted email services in Switzerland, etc., etc. The more average people use that stuff for innocuous purposes, the better it is for everybody, too.

    I used to be like the following example, too, so I’m not just pointing the finger at other people . . .

    People used to try to justify using the FCC to censor television to keep kids from seeing stuff they shouldn’t see. We’d counter that every television now comes with a v-chip. If you want censored television, why depend on the FCC when you can censor television yourself? If you really care about that, the technology has made it so you can do it yourself. Don’t be so lazy. Learn how to use it.

    Protecting your communications from government snooping is kinda the same thing. We should definitely keep pushing our politicians to respect our Fourth Amendment rights, etc., but there are also all these tools at our disposal that most people aren’t even aware of. We don’t have to depend on our politicians to do the right thing.

    We aren’t helpless, we can help ourselves.

    1. “If the president of the United States is not open or is even actively hostile to protecting tech privacy, then it falls upon private citizens and the tech sector to work out other solutions.”

      Snowden’s kind of an idiot. Reliance on the government is why he’s sitting in Russia right now.

      *Even if* the President of the United States *is open or is even actively friendly* to protecting tech privacy, it falls upon private citizens and the tech sector to work out solutions that are not vulnerable to penetration *by any agency*, government or otherwise.

      1. What if you like being penetrated by the government?

      2. I don’t follow that argument.

        If anybody knows that relying on the government doesn’t work, it’s Snowden.

        He’s telling people not to rely on the President or the government.

        1. No, he’s telling people to not rely on the President or government if they’re hostile to tech privacy – which implies that they *should* be supportive of a president or govenrment that if friendly to it.

          But they shouldn’t. They shouldn’t *care* what the President or government want (even if its the same thing they want) and should move to working out other solutions *as their default stance*, not waiting to see which way any particular administration swings.

          While I am certain that that is what Snowden means, its very different from what he *said*.

          1. I see it now.

            Thanks!

    2. People used to try to justify using the FCC to censor television to keep kids from seeing stuff they shouldn’t see. We’d counter that every television now comes with a v-chip.

      That should have been countered by saying that government censorship is never justified, and wouldn’t be justified or constitutional even if the v-chip didn’t exist.

  8. So the progs have went full on retard. What is it they want? We have elections, they lost, they failed to run a good candidate and they failed to sell America on their ideas. So what do they want? A dictator so that they can never lose again in the arena of ideas? Yeah, that’s going to work out really well when dear leader changes his mind.

    1. A dictator so that they can never lose again in the arena of ideas? Yeah, that’s going to work out really well when dear leader changes his mind.

      These are the petulant children who were raised in “no punishment” households, and they’ve learned that if they just cry and stamp their feet long enough, they’ll get their way.

    2. They’d rather have the dictator they want than ever put up with anyone they disagree with as a result of liberty.

      They’re so out of their minds they’d claim they were free under a dictator.

  9. Hey, how’s Krugman doing these days?

    Asking for a friend.

    1. He has this sharp pain in the back of his head caused by suddenly remembering that debt is bad.

    2. Not golden, he never feels golden.

    3. He had a total meltdown election night.

      “We thought that the nation, while far from having transcended racial prejudice and misogyny, had become vastly more open and tolerant over time.

      We thought that the great majority of Americans valued democratic norms and the rule of law.

      It turns out that we were wrong. There turn out to be a huge number of people ? white people, living mainly in rural areas ? who don’t share at all our idea of what America is about. For them, it is about blood and soil, about traditional patriarchy and racial hierarchy. And there were many other people who might not share those anti-democratic values, but who nonetheless were willing to vote for anyone bearing the Republican label.

      I don’t know how we go forward from here. Is America a failed state and society?

      http://www.nytimes.com/interac…..wn-country

      It’s not that Hillary is a crook. It’s not that the progressive hate the people they need to vote for them.

      It’s that America is a failed society?

      Have a drink and go lie down, Krugman.

  10. OT: news alert that Leonard Cohen has died.

    1. So just one day of President-elect Trump and he gives up?

      1. But enough about Reason servers…

      2. Closing time
        Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end

    2. I remember having to pull duty as a DJ on the college AM station, and playing his version of Irving Berlin’s “Always” any time I needed a bathroom break.

    3. Montreal’s Bob Dylan.

      1. Expanded. There are a few symbols of MTL. Smoked meat, bagels, Maurice The Rocket Richard, The Habs… Leonard Cohen is one of them.

  11. ‘I have more ability to change the world for the better today than when I was working for the NSA,’ he said. ‘I can give a voice to the side of the NSA that’s forbidden from speaking’.

    You informed upon illegal activities being performed by government employees, Snowden. Those still working for the NSA and like government agencies/organizations inform upon everyone – including themselves and their family, friends, neighbors, et cetera.

    It seems to some of us that you were “forbidden” as well.

    Morals? Ethics? Methinks you seem overnice.

    1. Which of those are your thoughts?

    1. According to the sidebar, he’s an Evil Zionist Puppet Master. Who knew?

  12. OT: So I’ve been going back and forth with a few old HS friends on derpbook over the last day and a half. I originally posted this:

    Today has been a banner day for unfriending and unfollowing people. I didn’t vote for Trump, I don’t like Trump, and I think he’s going to be a detriment to the country as the President. However, his election was almost worth it just to see so many people’s true colors come out. The immediate, irrational, and childish descent of many “sore losers” into temper tantrums, name calling, apocalyptic panic, and other various stages of “grief,” “disappointment,” “sadness,” and “fear for my life” is rather unbecoming, and has been great entertainment for the last 18 hours.

    To paraphrase an insight I saw somewhere in my feed, if the outcome of the Presidential election is so very important to your life to make you “scared” when it doesn’t go your way, maybe that should be a warning sign to you about the size and scope of the federal government.

    It’s funny to watch my prog friends attempt to defend the legitimacy of this ridiculous reaction. They just can’t help but go all smug and condescending in telling me why I’m wrong to criticize these poor sad people who just need some time and space to “recover” from a “traumatic event.”

    1. “if the outcome of the Presidential election is so very important to your life to make you “scared” when it doesn’t go your way, maybe that should be a warning sign to you about the size and scope of the federal government.”

      That’s beautiful.

  13. Why the hell isn’t there a statue of Snowden in downtown DC, right in the middle of Revolution Square?

    1. Oh wait, that hasn’t happened yet. Never mind, forget I said anything. Oh, and stay out of DC in 2019.

  14. And in at least one interview Trump threatened to treat Snowden the way America treated traitors “in the good old days when we were a strong country,” which is to say, execute him.

    Uhm, I think you might be reading too much between the lines.

    How many *actual traitors* (as in tried and convicted as such) has this country ever executed?

    Wikipedia has 13 successful treason prosecutions – 3 executions. Its an incomplete list.

    Even adding in espionage to the ‘traitor’ list its still a pretty small number of spies that have been executed by the US over the course of its history.

    What we actually did ‘in the good old days when we were a strong country’ was try them and give them life sentences.

    1. I’ll defend Shackford. I don’t have TDS (I think), but that’s what he said. He’s ignorant of history not a devious champion of technical correctness.

      Now, did he mean it? Nah. Probably would commute any such sentence to prison in fact.

  15. In my ‘not everyone is crazy’ files. Some black guy.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wylLtpnT31w

    And Patinkin:

    http://www.providencejournal.c…..supporters

    1. The end of the SBG video is fucking epic!

    2. /subscribed to Some Black Guy.

      Yadda Yadda, Reason TV, better than…actually better than any of you fuckers. Think you can get him to do a Rand Paul or something video for you?

  16. until I looked at the paycheck saying $4730 , I did not believe that…my… brother woz like actualy bringing in money part time from there computar. . there friend brother started doing this for less than 7 months and resently paid for the morgage on there home and bought a new Cadillac …….

    …….. http://www.jobprofit9.com

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