US whistleblower Edward Snowden who warned the entire world about the US National Security Agency’s surveillance activities, has said that now entire populations, not just individuals are under the threat of constant surveillance.
Snowden had sent a video message to a debate happening in Toronto,Canada on the effects of surveillance, from Russia where he has been living after granted asylum by the country after the Snowden documents began surfacing early last year.
“It’s no longer based on the traditional practice of targeted taps based on some individual suspicion of wrongdoing, It covers phone calls, emails, texts, search history, what you buy, who your friends are, where you go, who you love,” said Snowden in the video message.
The debate argued if the governmental surveillance is a tool to ensure public freedom. Former US National Security Administration director, General Michael Hayden, and the well-known civil liberties lawyer and Harvard law professor, Alan Dershowitz – argued in favour of the debate statement: “Be it resolved state surveillance is a legitimate defence of our freedoms.” Glenn Greenwald, Snowden’s collaborator in leaking the documents, who won the Pulitzer for his actions later, and Alex Ohanian, co founder of website Reddit argued against the topic.
The “Collect it all,” philosophy of NSA is probably the reason why it could not identify and prevent the 9/11 bombings, said Greenwald and Ohanian during the debate. The audience at the end of the debate, 59% of them opposed the proposition that the surveillance is to ensure greater freedom for the public.