NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden spoke to an audience of more than 3,000 at President Petter’s Dream Colloquium on Big Data.
The Peak reports:
Snowden argued that terrorism is used as a justification to the public for the existence of these programs. What are the true motivations of programs such as PRISM? According to Snowden they include “diplomatic manipulation, economic espionage, and social control.”
He came prepared with a litany of examples to support his controversial thesis, including the government’s attempts to track the pornographic viewing habits of “radicals” in order to discredit them later on. Snowden also noted that GCHQ, the British equivalent of the NSA, has categorized journalists as a “threat,” falling between hackers and terrorists on their scale.
Inevitably, the topic of Bill C-51 came up, now known as Canada’s official Anti-terrorism Act. Said Snowden, “Terrorism is a serious threat, but let’s not pretend that it’s an existential threat to our society.” He suggested that the purpose of such a law in Canada may be to contribute to an international database, from which intelligence agencies such as the NSA to the GCHQ could draw.