Snowden: tech developers, encryption can make web users safe from surveillance

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Austin, TX, United States (4E) – National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden on Monday said technology developers and encryption can help make Internet users safe from mass surveillance conducted by the government.

Snowden made the remark during a live and rare video interview at the annual South by Southwest music and technology festival in Austin, Texas. The American fugitive, who is wanted by the FBI for leaking NSA’s secret mass surveillance program to the press last year, hid his location in Russia, where he is taking asylum, by using multiple proxy relays.

In his opening remark at the video conference moderated by his lawyer Ben Wizner and American Civil Liberties Union technology expert Chris Sogohian, Snowden said governments have created an adversarial Internet that could be fixed through new policies and better technology.

The development community and not legislators, he said, could produce the solutions to make sure web users are protected. He also said that mass surveillance can be made more difficult through better end-to-end encryption that Internet companies should make enabled automatically.

“The bottom line is that encryption does work,” Snowden said, according to The Hill. Citing examples, he said those tracking him down are still unable to do find him and remains unsure which secret NSA documents he leaked.

Snowden gave tips on how individuals can secure themselves on the Internet. He suggested full disk encryption to protect devices if they’re seized, network encryption, plug-ins such as NoScript and the mixed routing network Tor.

The video conferencing beamed over Google Hangout lasted from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Snowden answered questions by Twitter.

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