Courage our network

Press statements

Video: Edward Snowden makes first live videolink appearance at SXSW

In his first live video appearance, Edward Snowden has just participated in a panel at SXSW alongside the ACLU’s Ben Wizner – one of his legal advisors – and Chris Soghoian.

In interviews before the event, both Ben Wizner and the Washington Post’s Barton Gellman explained Snowden’s motivation for speaking at the SXSW Interactive Festival, with Gellman pointing out that “The tech community has been pretty disturbed” by Snowden’s revelations and “This is a group he wants to influence.”

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Snowden statement on liberty

Originally published in the Guardian, 21 February 2014

Today, an ordinary person can’t pick up the phone, email a friend or order a book without comprehensive records of their activities being created, archived, and analysed by people with the authority to put you in jail or worse. I know: I sat at that desk. I typed in the names.

When we know we’re being watched, we impose restraints on our behaviour – even clearly innocent activities – just as surely as if we were ordered to do so. The mass surveillance systems of today, systems that pre-emptively automate the indiscriminate seizure of private records, constitute a sort of surveillance time-machine – a machine that simply cannot operate without violating our liberty on the broadest scale. And it permits governments to go back and scrutinise every decision you’ve ever made, every friend you’ve ever spoken to, and derive suspicion from an innocent life. Even a well-intentioned mistake can turn a life upside down.

To preserve our free societies, we have to defend not just against distant enemies, but against dangerous policies at home. If we allow scarce resources to be squandered on surveillance programmes that violate the very rights they purport to defend, we haven’t protected our liberty at all: we have paid to lose it.

Snowden statement on his election as rector of Glasgow University

Originally published 18/3/14 in the Guardian

I am humbled by and grateful to the students of Glasgow University for this historic statement in defence of our shared values.

In a world where so many of our developing thoughts and queries and plans must be entrusted to the open internet, mass surveillance is not simply a matter of privacy, but of academic freedom and human liberty.

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Edward Snowden joins Freedom of the Press Foundation board

Originally posted 14/1/2014 by Freedom of the Press Foundation.

“It is tremendously humbling to be called to serve the cause of our free press, and it is the honor of a lifetime to do so alongside extraordinary Americans like Daniel Ellsberg on FPF’s Board of Directors. The unconstitutional gathering of the communications records of everyone in America threatens our most basic rights, and the public should have a say in whether or not that continues. Thanks to the work of our free press, today we do, and if the NSA won’t answer to Congress, they’ll have to answer to the newspapers, and ultimately, the people.

“Journalism isn’t possible unless reporters and their sources can safely communicate and where laws can’t protect that, technology can. This is a hard problem, but not an unsolvable one, and I look forward to using my experience to help find a solution.”

Edward Snowden’s open letter to the people of Brazil

Originally published 16/12/13 in Folha de S. Paulo. Snowden later provided some context to this letter in an interview with Fantástico.

Six months ago, I stepped out from the shadows of the United States Government’s National Security Agency to stand in front of a journalist’s camera.

I shared with the world evidence proving some governments are building a world-wide surveillance system to secretly track how we live, who we talk to, and what we say.

I went in front of that camera with open eyes, knowing that the decision would cost me family and my home, and would risk my life. I was motivated by a belief that the citizens of the world deserve to understand the system in which they live.

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Snowden statement to Foreign Policy Magazine on his selection as a Global Thinker

Originally published 11/12/2013 in Foreign Policy

It’s an honor to address you tonight. I apologize for being unable to attend in person, but I’ve been having a bit of passport trouble. Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras also regrettably could not accept their invitations. As it turns out, revealing matters of “legitimate concern” nowadays puts you on the list for more than “Global Thinker” awards.

2013 has been an important year for civil society. As we look back on the events of the past year and their implications for the state of surveillance within the United States and around the world, I suspect we will remember this year less for the changes in policies that are sure to come, than for changing our minds. In a single year, people from Indonesia to Indianapolis have come to realize that dragnet surveillance is not a mark of progress, but a problem to be solved.

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