The whistleblower pointed to an AP investigation into how the Covid-19 pandemic has ‘normalized’ spying on citizens
Former CIA and National Security Agency officer turned whistleblower Edward Snowden claimed vindication after a media report revealed how surveillance tools used to help fight the spread of Covid-19 are now abused by law enforcement and other authorities – just as he predicted more than two years ago.
“I spoke about this in early 2020 and was dismissed as paranoid, as is our tradition when someone points to the predictable outcome of a dangerous yet popular new trend,” Snowden said in a Twitter post on Friday. The former US intelligence contractor quoted this week’s Associated Press article on how Covid-19 had “accelerated and normalized” use of state surveillance and tracking tools against ordinary citizens and activists.
Snowden is linked to an April 2020 interview with Vice founder Shane Smith in which he predicted that the emergency measures used to deal with the Covid-19 crisis would become permanent and would be used to undermine civil liberties. . At the time, pandemic fears were running high and many governments around the world were being praised for using cutting-edge surveillance apps to track infections and quarantine people who may have been exposed to the virus. .
I brought this up in early 2020 and was dismissed as paranoid – as is our tradition when someone points to the predictable outcome of a dangerous yet popular new trend. Stopping it will be more difficult now. You can watch the original interview here: https://t.co/RtRQRVEAUbhttps://t.co/LOCWXxlcBs
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) December 23, 2022
“When any of us look where it’s going, we have to think about where we’ve been,” Snowden told Smith. “And unfortunately, these types of crisis-born emergency powers have a perfect history of abuse. I mean, at the bottom of the chart, every time you look at these things, the funniest part about it, of a dark way is that the emergency never ends and becomes normalized.
The AP article offered examples such as cell phone tracking and other technologies used to accuse people of crimes, prevent citizens from traveling, harass “marginalized communities” and linking personal health data to surveillance and law enforcement systems.
Snowden became famous for exposing the US government’s global and domestic surveillance tactics that arose from an earlier crisis, the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He lamented that with pandemic-related technology already abused, “Stopping this will be more difficult now.”
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In the 2020 interview, Snowden argued that because everyone was so afraid of the present, they neglected to think about how the decisions that were made would affect the future. “No matter how it is used, what is built is the architecture of oppression.” He added, “As authoritarianism spreads, as emergency laws proliferate, as we sacrifice our rights, we also sacrifice our ability to stop this slide towards a less liberal and less free world.”