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Press statements

Edward Snowden’s statement in support of Reset the Net

Originally posted at Reset the Net, 4/6/14

One year ago, we learned that the internet is under surveillance, and our activities are being monitored to create permanent records of our private lives — no matter how innocent or ordinary those lives might be.

Today, we can begin the work of effectively shutting down the collection of our online communications, even if the US Congress fails to do the same. That’s why I’m asking you to join me on June 5th for Reset the Net, when people and companies all over the world will come together to implement the technological solutions that can put an end to the mass surveillance programs of any government. This is the beginning of a moment where we the people begin to protect our universal human rights with the laws of nature rather than the laws of nations.

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Edward Snowden’s statement on the release of his email to NSA Office of General Counsel

Originally published in the Washington Post, 29 May 2014

How do you respond to today’s NSA statement and the release of your email with the Office of General Counsel?

The NSA’s new discovery of written contact between me and its lawyers – after more than a year of denying any such contact existed – raises serious concerns. It reveals as false the NSA’s claim to Barton Gellman of the Washington Post in December of last year, that “after extensive investigation, including interviews with his former NSA supervisors and co-workers, we have not found any evidence to support Mr. Snowden’s contention that he brought these matters to anyone’s attention.”

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Edward Snowden: “Big things are happening in Denmark”

Originally published in Berlingske, 5 May 2014

Big things are happening in Denmark.

This week we’ve heard that the Danish weekly Se & Hør paid for access to the highly confidential private records of politicians and celebrities, subjecting the Danish elite to the same suspicionless surveillance ordinary citizens are facing every day from today’s dangerously out-of-control spying services.

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Edward Snowden’s statement on his inauguration as rector at the University of Glasgow

Originally published by the Evening Times and BBC, 23 April 2014

I’m disappointed and I must apologise for being unable to attend in person, but unfortunately I’ve discovered that I’m barred from entering the United Kingdom on the grounds that my presence is considered detrimental to the public good.

I do think it’s fair to say that the election shows the students of this university have a different opinion.

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Edward Snowden: Vladimir Putin must be called to account on surveillance just like Obama

Originally published in the Guardian, 18 April 2014

On Thursday, I questioned Russia’s involvement in mass surveillance on live television. I asked Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, a question that cannot credibly be answered in the negative by any leader who runs a modern, intrusive surveillance program: “Does [your country] intercept, analyse or store millions of individuals’ communications?”

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Edward Snowden speaks to the Council of Europe


On 8 April 2014, Edward Snowden gave testimony to the Council of Europe’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights by video link. As with his previous testimony to the European Parliament, Mr Snowden used his statement to elaborate on topics that had been previously outlined by journalists. Topics covered include data mining, XKeyscore fingerprinting and the surveillance of Amnesty and other human rights organisations. Mr Snowden also confirmed that we can expect to see “more, and more specific” reporting on NSA attempts to change legal regimes overseas.

The Council of Europe is preparing reports on mass surveillance and on the protection of whistleblowers, which will be published before the end of this year. This is the first hearing supporting those reports; a second will be held on 24 June. Legal challenges to GCHQ’s activities have also been lodged in and fast-tracked by, the European Court of Human Rights.

Audio and video records of the event are available and a full transcript follows below. There are several occasions where the video link was interrupted; these are marked in the transcript.

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Edward Snowden’s statement on award of Pulitzer Prize

Originally published in the Guardian, 14 April 2014

I am grateful to the committee for their recognition of the efforts of those involved in the last year’s reporting, and join others around the world in congratulating Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Barton Gellman, Ewen MacAskill and all of the others at the Guardian and Washington Post on winning the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

Today’s decision is a vindication for everyone who believes that the public has a role in government. We owe it to the efforts of the brave reporters and their colleagues who kept working in the face of extraordinary intimidation, including the forced destruction of journalistic materials, the inappropriate use of terrorism laws, and so many other means of pressure to get them to stop what the world now recognises was work of vital public importance.

This decision reminds us that what no individual conscience can change, a free press can. My efforts would have been meaningless without the dedication, passion, and skill of these newspapers, and they have my gratitude and respect for their extraordinary service to our society. Their work has given us a better future and a more accountable democracy.


Video: Edward Snowden at TED2014

Originally posted at

Edward Snowden made a surprise appearance at TED2014 on 18 March 2014, speaking in Vancouver by means of a mobile video unit which he could control from a remote location. Snowden’s TED talk took the form of a conversation with Chris Anderson and Tim Berners-Lee, who had called for the formulation of an online bill of rights less than a week earlier.

A transcript follows after the video below.

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Edward Snowden calls out Dianne Feinstein

In the wake of Dianne Feinstein’s accusations of CIA interference with investigations by the Senate Intelligence Committee – including accessing and searching the committee’s computers  – Edward Snowden has criticised Senator Feinstein’s selective outrage, pointing out that her opposition to state surveillance sits oddly with her acquiescence to routine interference with the private communications of ordinary citizens.

As Chair of the Intelligence Committee, Senator Feinstein shares responsibility for overseeing the US intelligence community, including the NSA. In late 2013, Feinstein introduced a Bill that has generally been seen as an attempt to strengthen the hand of the agency and secure its authority for domestic bulk collection.

In a statement to NBC News, Edward Snowden said:

It’s clear the CIA was trying to play ‘keep away’ with documents relevant to an investigation by their overseers in Congress, and that’s a serious constitutional concern.

But it’s equally if not more concerning that we’re seeing another ‘Merkel Effect,’ where an elected official does not care at all that the rights of millions of ordinary citizens are violated by our spies, but suddenly it’s a scandal when a politician finds out the same thing happens to them.