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In a very short time, the world has learned much about unaccountable secret agencies and about sometimes illegal surveillance programs. Sometimes the agencies even deliberately try to hide their surveillance of high officials or the public. While the NSA and GCHQ seem to be the worst offenders – this is what the currently available documents suggest – we must not forget that mass surveillance is a global problem in need of global solutions.
Such programs are not only a threat to privacy, they also threaten freedom of speech and open societies. The existence of spy technology should not determine policy. We have a moral duty to ensure that our laws and values limit monitoring programs and protect human rights.
Society can only understand and control these problems through an open, respectful and informed debate. At first, some governments feeling embarrassed by the revelations of mass surveillance initiated an unprecedented campaign of persecution to supress this debate. They intimidated journalists and criminalized publishing the truth. At this point, the public was not yet able to evaluate the benefits of the revelations. They relied on their governments to decide correctly.
Today we know that this was a mistake and that such action does not serve the public interest. The debate which they wanted to prevent will now take place in countries around the world. And instead of doing harm, the societal benefits of this new public knowledge is now clear, since reforms are now proposed in the form of increased oversight and new legislation.
Citizens have to fight suppression of information on matters of vital public importance. To tell the truth is not a crime.
by Edward Snowden
I don't mind what Snowden did, but going to Russia is extreme. He could have went to another country but Russia is not good and that why I think he's a traitor.
(Newser) – Al Gore is definitely not among those buying the line that US surveillance practices are above-aboard and business as usual. Among the words he used to describe the methods unveiled by Edward Snowden in a speech last night in Canada: "absurd," outrageous," "crimes against the Constitution," and "completely unacceptable," reports the Canadian Press via O Canada.com. And “I say that as someone who was a member of the National Security Council working in the White House and getting daily briefings from the CIA."
But the former VP thinks things will change given the national and international outrage that has ensued: “I think they will have to pull this back,” he said at Montreal's McGill University. “I think you will see a reining in.” Gore also repeated a phrase he has previously used to describe how modern businesses pry into the lives of customers and potential customers: "We have a stalker economy," he said.
"Any democratic country has to take the high road; it has to live by its principles. I'm very sympathetic to attempts to increase security against organised crime, but you have to distinguish yourself from the criminal."
While he had expected some of the surveillance activities that were revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden were taking place, he told the paper he was surprised by the scale of the NSA's reach.
Mr Snowden's disclosures illustrated a "dysfunctional and unaccountable" failure at the heart of US and UK governments and proved that whistleblowers must be protected from prosecution.
I'd like to read it and all, but "der spiegel" is trying to der spiegel 10MB of storage on my disk drive. And since the chancellor went to scold the US for spying on her, and came back saying, "OMG so happy they tapped my phone they was protecting us" I am not going to trust anything coming out of Germany.