Edward Snowden, one of most well-known whistleblowers of our time, says that he has noticed a decrease in the public’s contempt for him in the United States, in regards to his divulgence of classified documents that exposed the reality of the global surveillance methods used by U.S and U.K spy agencies.
Noting the publication of his memoirs which he named, “Permanent Record”, Snowden did an exclusive interview in Moscow with The Guardian. He stated that the repercussions of the exposure which was thought to manifest, actually never took place, and in fact, former critics are now saying that “we live in a better, freer, and safer world” thanks to his actions.
In Permanent Record, Snowden details his background, as well as the reasons that brought him to disclose the secret programs that were being used by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) and the United Kingdom’s secret communications headquarters, GCHQ.
He calls the last 18 years since the World Trade Center attack: “a litany of American destruction by way of American self-destruction, with the promulgation of secret policies, secret laws, secret courts, and secret wars”.
Snowden’s vision for the future
Snowden also says, “The greatest danger still lies ahead, with the refinement of artificial intelligence capabilities, such as facial and pattern recognition. An AI-equipped surveillance camera would be not a mere recording device, but could be made into something closer to an automated police officer.”
He feels that the U.S and other governments, in collaboration with internet giants, are heading towards establishing a permanent record of every person on the planet, documenting the entirety of their everyday lives.
Snowden mentioned that he discreetly got married to his partner, Lindsay Mills, in a courthouse in Russia. He says that although he would prefer to be in the U.S or perhaps somewhere such as Germany, he has become comfortable in Russia where he can live a fairly normal life. Now, he isn’t as worried as he was when he first got to Russia six years ago. At that time, he felt alone and paranoid that U.S agents could be waiting for him in the streets.
“I was very much a person the most powerful government in the world wanted to go away. They did not care whether I went away to prison. They did not care whether I went away into the ground. They just wanted me gone,” said Snowden.
He now moves about the city freely without constantly looking over his shoulder.