News / USA

    Snowden: Reforms Vindicate My Leaks

    NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden speaks via videoconference at the "Virtual Conversation With Edward Snowden" during the 2014 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at the Austin Convention Center, March 10, 2014.
    NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden speaks via videoconference at the "Virtual Conversation With Edward Snowden" during the 2014 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at the Austin Convention Center, March 10, 2014.
    Reuters
    Former security contractor Edward Snowden, addressing a sympathetic crowd at a
    tech-heavy Austin event on Monday from a secret location in Russia, said proposed reforms at the National Security Agency show that he was vindicated in leaking classified material.
     
    Snowden, who faces arrest if he sets foot on U.S. soil, spoke via a video link to a packed house at the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) gathering of tech industry experts, filmmakers and musicians. He said the U.S. government still has no idea what material he has provided to journalists.
     
    "I saw that the Constitution was violated on a massive scale," Snowden said to applause, adding that his revelations of government spying on private communications have resulted in protections that have benefited the public and global society.
     
    Last year, Snowden, who had been working at a National Security Agency (NSA) facility as an employee of Booz Allen Hamilton, leaked a raft of secret documents that revealed a vast U.S. government system for monitoring phone and Internet data.
     
    The leaks deeply embarrassed the Obama administration, which in January banned U.S. eavesdropping on the leaders of friendly countries and allies and began reining in the sweeping collection of Americans' phone data in a series of limited reforms triggered by Snowden's revelations.
     
    Major companies also tightened up safeguards, but Snowden said that is still not enough to protect privacy properly, calling for stepped-up encryption that would make mass government surveillance too costly to conduct.
     
    "The government has gone and changed their talking points. They have changed their verbiage away from public interest to national interest," he said, adding that this poses the risk of losing control of representative democracy. He said the government's priority has been an expansive and ill-executed system of massive information collection instead of protecting the vast amounts of intellectual property that supports the U.S. economy.
     
    "We've got the most to lose from being hacked," Snowden said.
     
    U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo, a Republican from Kansas, wrote to SXSW organizers, calling on them to withdraw the invitation to Snowden, a man he said deceived his employer and his country.
     
    "Rewarding Mr. Snowden's behavior in this way encourages the very lawlessness he exhibited," Pompeo wrote.
     
    To many in government and at the NSA, Snowden is a traitor who compromised the security of the United States. But for many at the conference, he is a hero who protected privacy and civil liberties.
     
    "To me, Snowden is a patriot who believed that what he did was in the best interests of his country," said Roeland Stekelenburg, creative director at the Dutch Internet firm Infostrada.
     
    NSA officials were not immediately available for comment.
     
    Snowden fled to Hong Kong and then to Russia, where he currently has asylum. The White House wants him returned to the United States for prosecution.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: k from: alaska
    March 11, 2014 5:56 AM
    Snowden lied about what goes on in juneau alaska and about me. This shows he doesn't know the truth about some spying or he is lying to please russia or he is a double agent spying for the usa. Whatever he is i don't trust him.

    by: Karl from: Victoria
    March 11, 2014 4:49 AM
    If you had simply exposed what you knew to the media then I might be inclined to agree with your self aggrandizement. However when you COPIED everything you could, and THEN fled to a country hostile the the US........................

    Ya, a true American hero.

    by: Rodbat from: Queensland
    March 11, 2014 4:26 AM
    He is and always will be, still a man who would sell his country for his own gratification

    by: Joy
    March 11, 2014 3:55 AM
    Snowden...we don't see you as hero and a coward who runs away into hiding because you are afraid to face he concequences of your action.

    You put this country at risk therefore you are not welcome here. How can you be so proud of yourself for being a traitor to youwn country? You are not welcome here. Your action is a product of maliciousness and a strong desire o be a hero. Well we have good news for you...YOU ARE NOT!!!
    In Response

    by: Michael from: Here
    March 11, 2014 5:03 AM
    @Joy

    Who made you the speaker for the people? Far as I'm concerned, he's welcome in my home any day. How do you say he put this country at risk? We are at risk of having our privacy? Are we at risk of not having "big brother" prying into our private lives? Before you say something about how Snowden has now made it harder to spy on our enemies, keep in mind that they were spying, illegally, mostly on allied nations. What's that say about us as Americans? Makes us just as sneaky and devilish as any other god forsaken entity that would utilize dirty tactics for hostile intent. Some of that data was even used to fatten the pockets of international business competitors. You seriously think that's okay? Shame on you. Utterly foolish. By the way, your first sentence contradicts itself.
    In Response

    by: jake
    March 11, 2014 4:48 AM
    What snowden did may be wrong to some but as a us citizen how are you suppose to obey the laws set by your government if they break them.
    The fourth Amendment
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
    They broke one of our first laws and are continuing to do so. I have nothing to hide but they need my permission or a warrant to do these things or change the constitution

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.