Edward Snowden: Don't fear Trump, fear the surveillance state
Edward Snowden once said that a dystopian America is just an election away. America just had one. And, for a lot of people, things don't seem so great. There are protests in the street, social media went into meltdown, and there were even tears at the White House. People on Youtube are expressing their fear.
But the former government contractor turned whistleblower seemed less concerned about the whole affair than some might have expected. In an unexpectedly upbeat conversation, Snowden told an audience at the Pathé Tuschinski theater in Amsterdam via a live stream on Thursday that Americans should be "cautious on putting too much faith or fear in elected politician".
Snowden's gave his first remarks since Donald Trump was unexpectedly elected the next US president on Wednesday morning, contrary to numerous polls putting rival candidate Hillary Clinton in the lead.
The whistleblower recounted how Obama, prior to his election in 2008, would close the Guantanamo prison camp in Cuba, end drone strikes and extrajudicial killings, and made shutting down the warrantless wiretapping programs of the previous administration a campaign platform to run on.
"We all put a lot of hope on [Obama] because of this," said Snowden said. "But, unfortunately, once he took that office, he didn't actually fulfill those promises."
"Politicians do what they think will gain them support," he said.
"A new leader will be elected, they'll flip the switch, say that because of the crisis, because of the dangers that we face in the world... some new and unpredicted threat... we need more authority, we need more power," he said.
"And there will be nothing the people can do at that point to oppose it," he added.
Already some companies are worried that a possible expansion in intelligence gathering powers or a disregard of surveillance safeguards could put customers' data at risk. According to BuzzFeed sources, companies are already looking at hosting their servers and data outside of the US in an effort to protect it from domestic search warrants.
Other companies, like Microsoft, have deliberately locked themselves out of their foreign datacenters to ensure they can't be forced to turn over under a secret government order.
"The powers of one government are inherited by the next," said Snowden in a tweet. "Reforming them is now the greatest responsibility of this president, long overdue."