Picture Credit: AP/The Guardian (Ewen MacAskill)
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden appears to still be in Hong Kong and said that the U.S has been hacking and watching Hong Kong and China since 2009, targeting institutions and the like. Snowden has had an eventful week after coming out about the United States’ spy program and data mining through the National Security Agency’s PRISM program. The program snags information from a variety of large Internet companies and phone carriers as part of information gathering in regards to foreign terrorists.
Snowden said that the NSA has probably done some 61,000 hacking attacks internationally with China and Hong Kong being the target of hundreds of these operations. Among these targets are Special Administrative Regions such as Hong Kong and Macau and students of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
“We hack network backbones—like huge Internet routers, basically—that give us access to the communications of hundreds of thousands of computers without having to hack every single one. Last week the American government happily operated in the shadows with no respect for the consent of the governed, but no longer. Every level of society is demanding accountability and oversight.” Snowden told the Washington Post.
Snowden said that he isn’t in Hong Kong to hide from U.S law enforcement stating. “People who think I made a mistake in picking HK as a location misunderstand my intentions, I am not here to hide from justice, I am here to reveal criminality.” He also mentioned that he is up for standing trial over the situation.
The reaction to Snowden’s decision to leak this tends to vary depending on the end of the political spectrum for the most part. In the wake of revelations the question of how much privacy should be sacrificed for security—if any. Some have said that Snowden did the right thing and that American citizens should know about what the country’s spy infrastructure is doing to them and with whatever information they gather while others are upset and say that this lets enemies of the U.S know what the country is doing and how it’s going about it.
The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald said that Edward Snowden made sure he released the information with the intent of informing the public and not to cause harm or put field agents and the like at risk.