WASHINGTON, March 10 (Xinhua) -- Speaking via teleconference, former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden on Monday called for more public oversight of the U.S. secret surveillance practices and better online security measures to protect the public.
Snowden, who is currently living in Russia under temporary asylum, spoke to an audience of thousands at the South By Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas. This is his first public appearance to American audience since last summer.
Snowden said the NSA surveillance programs are "setting fire to the future of the Internet."
"I took an oath to support and defend the (U.S.) Constitution and I saw that the Constitution was being violated on a massive scale," he said, appearing on video screens with an image of the U. S. Constitution as a backdrop.
"We need public advocates. We need public oversight," said Snowden. He accused U.S. lawmakers of "cheerleading the NSA instead of holding them to account."
"There's a political response that needs to occur, but there's also a tech response that needs to occur," said Snowden. He urged the tech companies to further tighten safeguards and called on people like the attendees at the annual festival to step up to help protect the public's privacy.
"You guys are all the firefighters and we need you to help us fix this," he told the audience.
Snowden's disclosures of the NSA surveillance programs since last summer have stirred up controversy and criticism home and abroad and a foreign relations crisis with its allies for the Obama administration. The former NSA contractor is facing espionage charge for his disclosures.
Obama offered a series of proposals to change the NSA's controversial surveillance practices earlier in January. Highlights of his proposals include pulling back part of the NSA's bulk collection of U.S. citizens' phone records.
Obama directed the Justice Department and the intelligence community to develop options for a new approach of the domestic phone collection without the government holding the metadata. They are expected to report back to Obama before March 28.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- President Barack Obama took a small step Friday toward reforming the massive U.S. global spy program, but some experts said the reforms did not go far enough.
In a nationally broadcast speech, Obama banned snooping on leaders of Washington's allies in a bid to address the controversy that erupted after revelations by leaker Edward Snowden, who unveiled documents showing the vast scope of U.S. intelligence gathering worldwide. Full story
WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama offered a series of changes to the National Security Agency (NSA)' s controversial surveillance practices on Friday, seven months after leaks by formal defense contractor Edward Snowden sparked controversy and furor around the world.
In a highly anticipated and carefully worded speech at the Justice Department, Obama outlined his plan to pull back part of the NSA's surveillance programs while defending the role of secret surveillance in the post 9/11 era. Full story