Yves here. The continued erosion of privacy due to better snooping continues apace. What is particularly depressing is the way consumers eager aid the surveillance state by, for instance, installing Ring cameras, whose output Amazon can share with police without owner consent, or using biometric IDs on phones.
In addition to this post, another ten-year commemoration of Snowden revelations:
Our episodes appear in podcast form on Spotify, Apple and others 12 hours after being live on Rumble:https://t.co/B6LvqooMDU
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) June 7, 2023
By Julia Conley, a staff writer at CommonDreams. Originally published at CommonDreams
With this week marking 10 years since whistleblower Edward Snowden disclosed information to journalists about widespread government spying by United States and British agencies, the former National Security Agency contractor on Thursday joined other advocates in warning that the fight for privacy rights, while making several inroads in the past decade, has grown harder due to major changes in technology.
“If we think about what we saw in 2013 and the capabilities of governments today,” Snowden told The Guardian, “2013 seems like child’s play.”
Snowden said that the advent of commercially available surveillance products such as Ring cameras, Pegasus spyware, and facial recognition technology has posed new dangers.
As Common Dreams has reported, the home security company Ring has faced legal challenges due to security concerns and its products’ vulnerability to hacking, and has faced criticism from rights groups for partnering with more than 1,000 police departments—including some with histories of police violence—and leaving community members vulnerable to harassment or wrongful arrests.
Law enforcement agencies have also begun using facial recognition technology to identify crime suspects despite the fact that the softwareis known to frequently misidentify people of color—leading to the wrongful arrest and detention earlier this year of Randal Reid in Georgia, among other cases.
Last month, journalists and civil society groups called for a global moratorium on the sale and transfer of spyware like Pegasus, which has been used to target dozens of journalists in at least 10 countries.
Protecting the public from surveillance “is an ongoing process,” Snowden told The Guardian on Thursday. “And we will have to be working at it for the rest of our lives and our children’s lives and beyond.”
In 2013, Snowden revealed that the U.S. government was broadly monitoring the communications of citizens, sparking a debate over surveillance as well as sustained privacy rights campaigns from groups like Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Fight for the Future.
“Technology has grown to be enormously influential,” Snowden told The Guardian on Thursday. “We trusted the government not to screw us. But they did. We trusted the tech companies not to take advantage of us. But they did. That is going to happen again, because that is the nature of power.”
Last month ahead of the anniversary of Snowden’s revelations, EFF notedthat some improvements to privacy rights have been made in the past decade, including:
- The sunsetting of Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, which until 2020 allowed the U.S. government to conduct a dragnet surveillance program that collected billions of phone records;
- The emergence of end-to-end encryption of internet communications, which Snowden noted was “a pipe dream in 2013”;
- The end of the NSA’s bulk collection of internet metadata, including email addresses of senders and recipients; and
- Rulings in countries including South Africa and Germany against bulk data collection.
“It’s been 10 years since the Snowden revelations,” they added, “and Congress needs to wake up and finally pass some legislation that actually protects our privacy, from companies as well as from the NSA directly.”