A lot of people the world over were shocked to learn that some technical government agents and private contractors in the United States were given the absolute power to wiretap or spy on anyone.
Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old whistleblower claiming to have possessed that capability as a former employee of Booz Allen, which does contracting for the government in many capacities, revealed that he was an armchair spy (my own term).
The Guardian’s 12.5-minute interview with Snowden tells a lot of things about his spy job, including why he chose to risk his entire life, future and family in order to be a whistleblower.
Most shocking, perhaps, is the authority he claims to have possessed.
At one point he says: “I had full access to the full rosters of everyone working at the NSA, the entire intelligence community, and undercover assets all around the world.”
Earlier he claims: “Any analyst at any time can target anyone … I, sitting at my desk, certainly have the authorities to wiretap anyone — from you or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the President.”
Meanwhile, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is “really, really” concerned about the NSA spygate issue.
In an impromptu interview with a Spanish tech news site FayerWayer, Wozniak says that the spying scandal is just the latest example of the U.S. government violating the constitutionally protected rights of its citizens in the guise of thwarting terrorism.
“All these things they talk about in the Constitution that made us so good as people, they’re kind of nothing. They all dissolved with the Patriot Act,” he said in the video interview.
“It’s extremely clear in the Bill Of Rights, [but] one thing after another [ has been] overturned. And that’s what a king does – has anyone rounded up, killed and put in secret prisons.”
The visionary tech inventor says that when he was a kid, he learned that Soviet Russia spied on its own citizens and arrested people illegally without cause.
“They followed their people, they snooped on them, they arrested people, put them in secret prisons—they disappeared them. We’re getting more and more like that,” Wozniak said in the video.
Wozniak also seems to believe Edward Snowden is telling the truth.
“That sort of structure is wrong,” he said.
- Here’s a related post about Steve Wozniak’s internet freedom advocacy and government intrusion.
I believe that this great Interview clip of innovator and visionary Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, should be spread far and wide. In this interview, Wozniak talks about his greatest fear, which is possible government control of the Internet.
Also, Woz talks about important issues like free speech and the second amendment, the bill of rights, Internet freedom, and government crackdown on ‘rogue’ sites.
On the issue of free speech he says:
“I was brought up with the belief that the First Amendment was such a good thing. Every one of our Bill of Rights in the United States was so crucial to my heart in the way my dad taught me, but free speech meant you could say something bad about the president even, you could say something bad about your government. You had that right, and we were taught that you didn’t have that right in communist Russia. So I believe in that right very strongly.”
On the issue of Internet control by governments:
“I think that a lot of social interaction will be curbed. Let me take that back. I fear it. I fear it will be [curbed]. That the gatekeepers, those that can turn on and off switches, allow certain things, disallow other things, allow who gets to send me data about a new movie rather than everyone having an equal say so of reaching me. Yeah I fear that very strongly. Especially net neutrality, issues like that.”
On his idea that the Internet should be considered a “country of its own”:
“Internet freedom is being interfered with in major ways and it shouldn’t. I think the Internet should have been considered from day one a country of its own that isn’t bound by any individual country’s laws. Maybe we could have had an Internet government. But it didn’t happen. Just like world government doesn’t happen. Space doesn’t belong to anyone, the moon doesn’t belong to anyone: these are really beautiful principles in life, and then as soon as a country figures out a way to get control of them it disappears.”
“I believe we can move more and more towards net neutrality. The trouble is a lot of it has to be enforced by the government. Every freedom we have in the United States, every one of them, was given to us by congressional regulation. It’s called the Bill of Rights. That is what gives us our freedom and yet it was from the government. It was government regulation.”
“Everything political, everything social, the way we do things with other people is all done with your computer, on the Internet, with your iPhones with your mobile devices now, and it’s a totally different world then when we had powerful computers, but they weren’t a part of your life as much as now. And I’m just as happy as everyone to see it having turned out this way.”
However, I disagree with what he said that the Bill of Rights is a form of government regulation. The Bill of Rights, as envisioned and designed by the founding fathers, is in fact a regulation against, or a limitation on, government authority and abuses.