The NSA, White House and members of the House Intelligence Committee have all claimed that the programs were to help fight terrorism, but given the data that was collected it seems that most of these programs would have been ineffective in this role. Snowden’s leak of these programs, which included evidence that some corporations were cooperating with the NSA, created a storm with the general public and especially with privacy advocates. It (the leak) has been also seen as one of the most crippling to US intelligence efforts in the US and around the world. After the leak of information Snowden fled the US and ended up gaining asylum in Russia. Snowden now has equal billing as Hero and Traitor.
Snowden did not release any new information during the talk, but did talk about how individuals can keep their information from being overheard. He advocated the use of TOR, a system of proxies that can potentially mask communication (although TOR has its weaknesses). He also touched on the responsibility of the tech industry to create more secure systems as their role as service providers. In the end Snowden repeated his claim that he would do this all again, even knowing what he knows now. He said that he could not sit by as he watched the Constitution be violated on such a massive scale.
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