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Edward Snowden in NYT: 'Power of an Informed Public' Stopped NSA

By    |   Thursday, 04 Jun 2015 10:57 PM

Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who two years ago on Thursday leaked stolen information on the agency's metadata programs, says "the power of an informed public" led to the dismantling of the mass surveillance programs.

"Ending the mass surveillance of private phone calls under the Patriot Act is a historic victory for the rights of every citizen, but it is only the latest product of a change in global awareness," Snowden, who continues to live under temporary political asylum in Russia, wrote in an op-ed piece in The New York Times.

Besides his former post at the NSA, Snowden is described at the bottom of the piece as "a former Central Intelligence Agency officer" and "a director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation."

The NSA surveillance programs began under the Patriot Act, which was signed into law by former President George W. Bush in response to the 9/11 attacks.

The law expired on Monday, and Congress approved the USA Freedom Act the next day. That law limits the bulk data the government can collect and requires a specific search warrant to collect the information from telephone companies.

"Though we have come a long way, the right to privacy — the foundation of the freedoms enshrined in the United States Bill of Rights — remains under threat," Snowden said.

He noted that many popular online data companies "have been enlisted as partners in the NSA's mass surveillance programs, and technology companies are being pressured by governments around the world to work against their customers rather than for them.

"Metadata revealing the personal associations and interests of ordinary Internet users is still being intercepted and monitored on a scale unprecedented in history: As you read this online, the United States government makes a note," Snowden said.

However, the outrage from ordinary citizens that led to the end of the Patriot Act points to "the emergence of a post-terror generation, one that rejects a worldview defined by a singular tragedy," he said.

"For the first time since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, we see the outline of a politics that turns away from reaction and fear in favor of resilience and reason," Snowden added.

"With each court victory, with every change in the law, we demonstrate facts are more convincing than fear.

"As a society, we rediscover that the value of a right is not in what it hides, but in what it protects."

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Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who two years ago on Thursday leaked stolen information on the agency's metadata programs, says "the power of an informed public" led to the dismantling of the mass surveillance programs.
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Thursday, 04 Jun 2015 10:57 PM
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