Edward Snowden is a hero, says Steve Wozniak
ITP.net INTERVIEW: Apple co-founder expresses support for NSA whistleblower
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak believes former NSA contractor Edward Snowden is "a hero" and that it is "almost impossible" for technology consumers to guarantee their privacy.
Snowden made global headlines in 2013, when he fled a US National Security Agency office in Hawaii with countless documents detailing surveillance operations by US and UK spy agencies. He passed the sensitive material to newspapers in Germany, Hong Kong, the US and the UK, and eventually settled in Russia on a temporary visa, where he remains the extradition target of US prosecutors.
In an interview with ITP.net, backstage at the Gartner Symposium in Dubai's Madinat Arena, Wozniak, when asked about Snowden, expressed strongly worded support for the 31-year-old fugitive.
"[He's a] total hero to me," he said. "Total hero. Not necessarily [for] what he exposed, but the fact that he internally came from his own heart, his own belief in the United States Constitution, what democracy and freedom was about, and now a federal judge has said that NSA data collection was unconstitutional."
In December 2013, Federal Judge Richard Leon declared the NSA's mass collection of meta-data to be in violation of the US Constitution's fourth amendment, which gives protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Leon used the phrase "almost Orwellian" to describe the spy agency's activities and suggested James Madison, the fourth US president and the Constitution's principle author, would be "aghast" at the covert surveillance.
Snowden welcomed the 2013 decision. "I acted on my belief that the NSA's mass surveillance programmes would not withstand a constitutional challenge, and that the American public deserved a chance to see these issues determined by open courts," he said at the time, in a statement given through Glenn Greenwald, a former Guardian journalist to whom Snowden gave sensitive documents.
"Today, a secret programme authorised by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans' rights. It is the first of many."
Earlier this month, the New York Times reported that a federal court found Section 215 of the US Patriot Act, which authorised the mass surveillance programmes, to be insufficient grounds for justifying the NSA's collection of domestic communications data.
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499 days ago
After reading this, I think if Woz were still at Apple, the security standards would be higher. Sure, iMessage is more secure than Google Hangouts (which, as it turns out, isn't secure at all), but others are even more secure (while iMessage is open to Man-in-the-Middle attacks, Threema, for instance, is not).
Woz is a hero to me (and since Snowden is a hero to Woz, I guess Snowden is a hero to me, too), why can't he work at Apple again!?