Snowden to Canada: ‘Liberty Is Worth The Risk’


March 5, 2015—Edward Snowden was interviewed yesterday during an event hosted by Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and the Ryerson School of Journalism. CBC News moderated the debate and streamed it live.

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You can watch the entire interview here:

Prior to the event, a searchable database with all documents leaked by the NSA whistleblower was made open to the public. The database was created by the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and the Politics of Surveillance Project at University of Toronto. It was developed to allow citizens a better grasp of what the federal agency is doing and how the federal government works to keep it under wraps.

At the moment, the database has made 386 files available. When Snowden reached out to journalists like Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras, he had about 50,000 files.

Most of the docs available on the database came from Snowden. Other NSA documents present in the database include glossaries of code names. Moving forward, this database could be of use to those interested in looking into how the NSA operates and how it curtails the privacy of Americans and foreigners.

During the interview, Edward Snowden admitted that he never intended to go very far with the leaks. At least not in a radical fashion that would have “resulted in a more meaningful change.”

The U.S. government’s claims regarding the NSA leaks are wrong, Snowden argued. Leaks he provided were carefully weeded out so that they would not have any impact on national security. While the U.S. government says terrorists now know how to evade U.S. intelligence agencies and their techniques, it is not able to produce one shred of evidence to back such claims.

Snowden also talked about his wishes to have a fair trial in the U.S. but claimed the government hasn’t been able to provide him with one.

When talking about Canadian lawmakers’ efforts to pass a bill very similar to our Patriot Act, Snowden claimed the decision is ultimately going to be made by Canadians. However, the law would eventually hurt residents’ freedom in the name of security. He compared this kind of legislation to a prison:

“We should make our case to society that we’re not going to debase ourselves because there are bad people out there. Freedom and liberty are worth some level of risk. Prisons in many ways are inverted castles. You’re very safe when you’re surrounded by bars and concrete. But I don’t think that that’s the way most Canadians want to live. (…)  We shouldn’t pass laws that make us live in conditions that are more similar to that simply on the basis of a rare extreme threat.”

Do  you agree that liberty is worth the risk of not living under surveillance? Let us know in the comment section.

Source: CBC News

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