Edward Snowden has hit out at Dropbox and other services he says are “hostile to privacy,” urging web users to abandon unencrypted communication and adjust privacy settings to prevent governments from spying on them in increasingly intrusive ways.
“We are no longer citizens, we no longer have leaders. We’re subjects, and we have rulers,” Snowden told The New Yorker magazine in a comprehensive hour-long interview.
There isn’t enough investment into security research, into understanding how metadata could better be protected and why that is more necessary today than yesterday, he said.
The whistle-blower believes one fallacy in how authorities view individual rights has to do with making the individual forsake those rights by default. Snowden’s point is that the moment you are compelled to reveal that you have nothing to hide is when the right to privacy stops being a right – because you are effectively waiving that right.
“When you say, ‘I have nothing to hide,’ you’re saying, ‘I don’t care about this right.’ You’re saying, ‘I don’t have this right, because I’ve got to the point where I have to justify it.’ The way rights work is, the government has to justify its intrusion into your rights – you don’t have to justify why you need freedom of speech.”
In that situation, it becomes OK to live in a world where one is no longer interested in privacy as such – a world where Facebook, Google and Dropbox have become ubiquitous, and where there are virtually no safeguards against the wrongful use of the information one puts there.
“The same rights that we inherited our children deserve to inherit the same way,” Snowden said.
“But ultimately we have to remember that political reform in the United States is not going to solve the problem globally. Governments [everywhere] are going to have their own national laws. And these can be terrible governments… so, because of that, you have to use secure communications… the real key is that companies willing to collaborate with the government and compromise their products and services do not deserve to be trusted with your data. Because if they do it for one government, they’ll do it for another government,”Snowden said.
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