Snowden: Donald Trump could get pal Putin to kick me out of Russia

Ex-NSA geek is trying not to let extradition possibility worry him

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has warned Donald Trump, as US President, could do a deal with Russian leader Vladimir Putin to extradite or imprison the whistleblower.

In an hour-long live-streamed video interview on Periscope with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey today, Snowden argued the US had trapped him in Russia when it cancelled his passport. The ex-NSA IT nerd added the incoming White House administration – which seemingly has better relations with the Russian government than the Obama regime – may be able to get him kicked out of the country and delivered into the hands of Uncle Sam, or otherwise imprisoned.

"It could happen, sure, but am I worried? Not really – I am very comfortable with decisions I made and know I did the right thing," he said.

"If my personal security was the only thing I cared about I never would have come forward and revealed myself in public. I would have stayed at NSA making an incredible amount of money for very little work and [would] be spying on you."

Up until now the US had worked hard to keep him in Russia – even going so far as to force down the President of Bolivia's private jet to make sure Snowden wasn't trying to flee. Snowden said he may also have to leave the Putin-led nation because he criticizes the Russian administration. There is no suggestion at this stage that Russia will eject or punish the American fugitive.

Snowden said that he had made asylum requests to 21 countries but hasn't had any luck yet. If he does get sent to the US for a "show trial," Snowden will argue that he has released no secrets personally – giving that job to the press – and none of the information has harmed anyone nor the American government itself, according to two White House studies.

Ultimately, Snowden said he wanted to make the US, and the wider world, a better place. Citizens need to have privacy and legislators need powers of scrutiny, and the balance was changing, in part due to the information he handed over to journalists.

On fake news and the internet generation

During the presentation, Snowden also took questions from Twitter users on a variety of topics. One of the first questions concerned fake news, and Snowden suggested a solution.

Journalists have a tough time of it these days, he opined, because good and true stories don't excite people in the same way fake ones do. As a result, the fakes get social media traction while actual news gets left by the wayside.

Governments are going to try to use the fake news fracas as an excuse to censor news media, he said. But instead, readers need to pay more attention and do the job themselves.

"The answer to bad speech is not censorship, it's more speech calling out fake news," he said. "We need to spread the idea that critical thinking is important."

When asked what people could do to protect against government intrusion, Snowden said the only way was to get organized. He said he understood that someone working two jobs and running a family wouldn't have time, so he encouraged them to "invest" in the ACLU, EFF, or Human Rights Watch. ®

PS: On the subject of privacy and government, Google has published some redacted national security letters it has received from the FBI demanding personal information – such as names and addresses – associated with particular Google account holders.

Other stories you might like

  • SpaceX staff condemn Musk's behavior in open letter
    Well, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see why

    A group of employees at SpaceX wrote an open letter to COO and president Gwynne Shotwell denouncing owner Elon Musk's public behavior and calling for the rocket company to "swiftly and explicitly separate itself" from his personal brand.

    The letter, which was acquired through anonymous SpaceX sources, calls Musk's recent behavior in the public sphere a source of distraction and embarrassment. Musk's tweets, the writers argue, are de facto company statements because "Elon is seen as the face of SpaceX."

    Musk's freewheeling tweets have landed him in hot water on multiple occasions – one incident even leaving him unable to tweet about Tesla without a lawyer's review and approval. 

    Continue reading
  • GPUs aren’t always your best bet, Twitter ML tests suggest
    Graphcore processor outperforms Nvidia rival in team's experiments

    GPUs are a powerful tool for machine-learning workloads, though they’re not necessarily the right tool for every AI job, according to Michael Bronstein, Twitter’s head of graph learning research.

    His team recently showed Graphcore’s AI hardware offered an “order of magnitude speedup when comparing a single IPU processor to an Nvidia A100 GPU,” in temporal graph network (TGN) models.

    “The choice of hardware for implementing Graph ML models is a crucial, yet often overlooked problem,” reads a joint article penned by Bronstein with Emanuele Rossi, an ML researcher at Twitter, and Daniel Justus, a researcher at Graphcore.

    Continue reading
  • TikTok US traffic defaults to Oracle Cloud, Beijing can (allegedly) still have a look
    Alibaba hinted the gig was worth millions each year

    The US arm of Chinese social video app TikTok has revealed that it has changed the default location used to store users' creations to Oracle Cloud's stateside operations – a day after being accused of allowing its Chinese parent company to access American users' personal data.

    "Today, 100 percent of US user traffic is being routed to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure," the company stated in a post dated June 18.

    "For more than a year, we've been working with Oracle on several measures as part of our commercial relationship to better safeguard our app, systems, and the security of US user data," the post continues. "We still use our US and Singapore datacenters for backup, but as we continue our work we expect to delete US users' private data from our own datacenters and fully pivot to Oracle cloud servers located in the US."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022