NSA Whistleblower ‘Disappears’ In Hong Kong

NSA Whistleblower 'Disappears' In Hong KongAn ex-CIA employee who leaked details of US top-secret phone and internet surveillance has disappeared from his hotel in Hong Kong. Edward Snowden, 29, checked out from his hotel on Monday. His whereabouts are unknown, but he is believed to be still in Hong Kong.

‘Criminal matter’

Earlier, he said he had an “obligation to help free people from oppression”. It emerged last week that US agencies were gathering millions of phone records and monitoring internet data. A spokesman for the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the case had been referred to the Department of Justice as a criminal matter.

Meanwhile a petition posted on the White House website, calling for Mr Snowden’s immediate pardon, has gathered more than 30,000 signatures. However an opinion poll commissioned by the Washington Post suggests a majority of Americans think government monitoring of phone records is acceptable if the aim is to fight terrorism.

‘Prism’

Mr Snowden was revealed as the source of the leaks at his own request by the UK’s Guardian newspaper. His revelations have caused transatlantic political fallout, amid allegations that the UK’s electronic surveillance agency, GCHQ, used the US system to snoop on British citizens. Foreign Secretary William Hague cancelled a trip to Washington to address the UK parliament on Monday and deny the claims.

On Thursday, the Washington Post and Guardian said the NSA tapped directly into the servers of nine internet firms including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to track online communication in a programme known as Prism. All the internet companies deny giving the US government access to their servers. Prism is said to give the NSA and FBI access to emails, web chats and other communications directly from the servers of major US internet companies.

Are you in favor of using the government collecting phone and internet records? Do you think Edward Snowden will be jailed for the information he leaked out?

Source: BBC News

Image: The Raw Story

NSA Surveillance Whistleblower: The Government Is Destroying Our Privacy

NSA Surveillance Whistleblower The Government Is Destroying Our PrivacyA 29-year-old computer technician for a U.S. defense contractor leaked details of a top-secret American program that collects vast streams of phone and Internet data, American and British newspapers revealed Sunday.

‘Massive surveillance machine’

“My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them,” the source, Edward Snowden, told Britain’s the Guardian, one of the papers that broke stories on the program last week.

Snowden is a former technical assistant for the CIA and has been working at the National Security Agency, the U.S. electronic intelligence service, for the past four years, the newspaper reported. He said he walked away from a six-figure job in Hawaii for the computer consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton and has holed up in a hotel in Hong Kong in preparation for the expected fallout from his disclosures.

“I’m willing to sacrifice all of that because I can’t in good conscience allow the U.S. government to destroy privacy, Internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building,” he said.


‘Existential threat to democracy’

The Guardian reported Wednesday that Verizon Business Network Services had been ordered to hand over telephone records detailing the time, location and telephone numbers involved in domestic calls from April 25 to July 19. An order from a U.S. court that oversees U.S. surveillance efforts backed up the demand, the newspaper reported.

Thursday, the Guardian and the Post disclosed the existence of PRISM, a program they said allows NSA analysts to extract the details of customer activities — including “audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents” and other materials — from computers at Microsoft, Google, Apple and other Internet firms. Snowden said the NSA’s reach poses “an existential threat to democracy.”

Do you think the government is indeed stepping on the privacy of the people? Or is the PRISM just a necessary move to secure the nation’s safety?

Source: Matt Smith, CNN

Image: Politico