Open Dialogue: Edward Snowden, Live from Russia | Dalhousie University

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00:00 - 08:57 Opening remarks by Professor Frank Harvey, Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences

08:58 - 24:41 Speech by Mr. Snowden’s legal counsel, Robert Tibbo

25:00 - 1:12:44 Snowden speaks

57:00 - 1:12:44 Audio is choppy

1:12:45 - 1:14:31 Technical difficulties & Professor Harvey speaks

1:14:32 - 1:32:30 Snowden reappears, finishes speech

1:32:31 - 1:58:55 Question & Answer

1:58:56 - 2:04:00 Closing remarks

👍︎︎ 2 👤︎︎ u/n0ahbody 📅︎︎ Jun 02 2019 🗫︎ replies
welcome everybody what an outstanding turn oh thank you all for joining us here tonight my name is Frank Harvey I have the distinct privilege of serving as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences here at Dalhousie University and on behalf of our sponsors the president's office Dalhousie Zhou facade advancement the four faculties co-sponsoring the event tonight the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Faculty of Law the Faculty of Management and the Faculty of computer science and our our external sponsors first and young Ernst and Ernst & Young Canada and the Atlantic security conference it is a pleasure for me to welcome you to Dow has these alumni days and our open dialogue speaker series with a very special keynote from Edward Joseph Snowden who will be joining us in about 15 minutes before we begin I'd like to recognize that Student Union Building Davos University in fact our entire community benefit from and sit on big Magee the ancestral and unceded territory the mcvaugh people this territory is covered by the treaties of peace and friendship treaties the MiG MOU and while a esta quake people first signed with the British crown in 1725 this the treaties did not deal with surrender of lands and resources but in fact recognized nigma rights and established the rules for an ongoing relationship between nations we are very grateful for our partnerships and our friendships at Dalhousie grateful for our community leaders our elders and residents our indigenous Weiser II Council our Faculty's Indigenous Studies program and our Faculty's new Canada Research Chair in gender and reconciliation professor Margaret Robinson we will continue to build on and work on these critically important relationships and friendships we are all treaty people and we take these words very seriously well ennio on July 22nd 2004 the National Commission on terrorist attacks on the United States commonly referred to as the 9/11 Commission published its full and complete accounting of the circumstances surrounding the 9/11 attacks the committee's conclusions were fascinating and they included the following quote we believe the 9/11 attacks revealed four kinds of failures in imagination in policy in capabilities and management the report goes on quote the most important failure was one of imagination we do not believe leaders understood the gravity of the threat the report concluded and the report went on to state at the end imagination is not a gift usually associated with bureaucracies it is therefore critical crucial to find a way to routinize bureaucratize and institutionalize the exercise of imagination know when the most powerful country on the planet establishes one of the most powerful bipartisan committees in US history and when that committee prioritizes the need to routinize and bureaucratize the exercise of imagination it wasn't very difficult to predict the kinds of policies and intelligence-gathering strategies the u.s. would adopt to prevent another catastrophic failure the real crisis today is no longer the failure of imagination it's the imagination of failure seeing potential failures everywhere at home globally our intelligence agencies were given enormous powers and enormous resources to search for on cover and address any imaginable security risk tied to terrorism not only from traditional state adversaries but from individuals everybody becomes a suspect in that world which resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars being invested in security and surveillance and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq go today I came across a report on statistical probabilities of various threats to the US and a five-year period probability of losing your life in a car crash but one in 19,000 drowning in a bathtub but one at 800,000 being struck by lightning one in 5,500,000 being killed by an act of global terrorism one in 20 million well the probability of being struck by lightning is four times as high 9/11 and overblown threats that is the essence of the story that we're covering today it's a story about the abuse of power the expanding power of governments in the US Canada and Europe to compile process share exploit and manipulate massive volumes of data on personal internet and tell their telephone conversations of its citizens beyond gigabytes and terabytes now petabytes and exabytes of data I have no clue what those terms refer to but I think they refer to a collection of billions if not trillions of records all justified by repeated references to some unspecified an expanding national and global security threat it's a story of court orders directing major telecom and social media companies Facebook Google to circumvent online encryption protocols to release user information to third parties and it's a story of the public's willingness to rule push their rights to relinquish their civil liberties their freedoms in exchange for some imagined sense of security public safety and protection in many ways it's one of the most important stories of our time and I can't imagine a more important person to tell the story of privacy in the digital age then Edward Joseph Snowden as many of you already know Edward Snowden is an American fugitive a whistleblower the former CIA employee in a contractor for the US government working for the US National Security Agency on May 20th 2013 mr. Snowden flew to Hong Kong after leaving his job at the NSA facility in Hawaii then a month later on in June of 2013 he shared thousands of classified NSA documents with journalists at the Guardian in The Washington Post his disclosure revealed the NSA's prism program an extensive network of global surveillance programs and operations that went well beyond any credible or reasonable interpretation of the security risks and threats we were facing and with legal representation for mr. Robert Tebow Snowden subsequently applied for refugee status in Hong Kong when transiting I believe to Ecuador when transiting through Moscow he was restricted to the airport terminal surprise surprise his passport was cancelled he requested and Russian authorities granted a temporary asylum visa for one year and it has been repeated year after year over the last several years with that context in mind it's a pleasure for me to introduce you to mr. Robert Tebow ed Snowden's Canadian lawyer whose work focuses on the areas of human rights judicial review and constitutional law his practice includes criminal trial commercial and contract law and he serves as the director of vision first the NGO that provides assistance to asylum seekers in Hong Kong mr. Chabot wanted to offer a few words to introduce his client [Applause] well I'd like to thank the Hauser University for inviting my client mr. Snowden to speak here today and to speak about privacy privacy rights government and abuse of government powers before I start I just like to mention my connections to Delhi University first and foremost I'd like to thank Silvanus Charlevoix professor at the house the University who reached out to me and asked if mr. Snowden would be interested in speaking here at this event the second connection to da house a university is a good friend of mine fellow counsel Bharat retired barrister in Queen's Counsel John Cameron who's who had been practicing law and still resides in Annapolis County now I'd like to focus upon issues that relate to the protections that we need in this world that we're living in today with the enormous powers resources and machinery that governments have including the technologies they have to spy on us to use our data analyze our data and to use it against us what we're seeing are democracies electing leaders today that once in their offices are using the tools and the machinery and resources to attack the very institutions of democracy that put them into office and you're seeing that all over the world in Europe you're seeing the leadership in Austria that preceded on that path Hungary in South Asia India Southeast Asia the Philippines as a lawyer based in Hong Kong Canadian lawyer you're seeing the same thing in Hong Kong what we're seeing is an attack on rule of law and the erosion of rule of law and the attack on the independence of the judiciary's in democratic jurisdictions around the world what we're seeing today are government's using their machinery and resources to systematically attack and violate our fundamental human rights ill-treatment torture and forced disappearances human trafficking extrajudicial killings and what we're seeing more and more recently are more incidents of war crimes and crimes against humanity now I can say that of course based on reading the the various United Nations special rapid tours who investigate human rights abuses but I'm also able to say that as a witness through the eyes of my clients I have dozens of clients who have suffered persecution at the hands of their governments and the the horrific treatment of ill-treatment torture attempted extrajudicial killings rule of law and the Independence of the judiciary's and democracies around the world are eroding in some cases completely disappearing what we're seeing fundamental to this are the systemic attacks on freedom of expression and political opinion political opponents journalists lawyers judges UN special rapper tours being targeted and attacked by various governments around the world and of great significance is the attack on whistleblowers and whistleblowers like mr. Snowden who made decisions of conscience to disclose in the public interest to the egregious and criminal conduct of government I'd like to put up the first slide I haven't just a few slides that I'd like to share with you these are also my clients these are the snowden refugees and I'll go into a little detail on who they are and their relationship with mr. Snowden but there are three families here and these three families when mr. Snowden was in Hong Kong after he just made disclosures of the NSA activities of electronic mass surveillance around the world and even on the five eyes on civilians that mr. Snowden was at risk of extraordinary rendition and what I had advised mr. Snowden is to raise your refugee claims in Hong Kong and I'm gonna go into the point of international law on refugee law briefly because that was the first shield mr. Snowden had in Hong Kong once he raised a refugee claim there was a legal barrier that would prevent the Hong Kong government or any foreign government to touch mr. Snowden but even with that at that time mr. Snowden was the most wanted man on the planet the largest manhunt in human history was launched against mr. Snowden and the world had descended upon Hong Kong like a storm so what I advised mr. stolid Snowden was to go underground go off the radar and stay with the refugee community because he was a refugee claimant at that time so very very briefly on the left you have Vanessa from the Philippines and below her is her daughter Kiana who was born in Hong Kong and stateless the gentleman next to vanessa is Ajith the former soldier with the Sri Lankan army beside the chief is a family of four 'no dica from Sri Lanka support from Sri Lanka support and the far side is holding a Sunday knife and then blown adiga is septum all the children were born in Hong Kong stateless all these clients opened their doors at various times to mr. Snowden to provide him protection they all saw mr. Snowden in the identical situation they had all been in when they were fleeing for their lives and fleeing persecution in their home countries now I mentioned the snowden refugees because it's not just the whistleblowers who are being attacked it's also those who step forward and protect whistleblowers in the recent - administration in the current and recent - administration's of the US government there have been more pursuit of prosecution's convictions and lengthy criminal sentences handed down to whistleblowers than in all previous US administrations put altogether what this has done is it has created a chilling effect a chilling effect on anybody daring to expose any given government of their egregious or criminal conduct what governments are doing at this very time is they're dismantling the rights and freedoms that we all have under constitutional law but also international law governments are increasingly interpreting constitutional law and international law in a way where they avoid responsibility and being held accountable there was their interpreting international law and constitutional law to avoid and deny individuals due process rights passing legislation which is in violation of human rights law we've seen that in Canada previous governments who have done exactly that violating international human rights law altogether just blatantly violating them and more recently withdrawing from international human rights conventions and evidence including the International Criminal Court and specifically what governments are doing now is they are attacking international refugee and Asylum law one thing about whistleblowers is it's their ultimate protection is refugee law once an individual a whistleblower political activists or journalists is targeted persecuted by a government in fleeing that jurisdiction if they're granted refugee status they cannot be deported they cannot be extradited it's almost impossible to have that individual persecuted by a government returned so right now we're seeing government's literally attacking refugee law for example the case of Julian Assange Ecuador has the most sophisticated complex Constitution on the planet the due process rights provisions are complex and they're there to safeguard due process rights yet president Morales made an arbitrary decision to strip mr. songs of his asylum status which has a very high threshold and there was no evidential or a factual basis to have stripped mr. Assange of his asylum status and the second thing that the president of Ecuador did is they did i mr songz all due process rights by saying you have an half an hour to leave the ecuadorian embassy or you'll be taken out by the british police another example is the Hong Kong government and and Beijing Ray Wang and Alan Lee to Hong Kong activists fled Hong Kong in 2017 and last week the German government confirmed that they had both been granted refugee status based on political persecution by the Hong Kong government as it turns out Beijing sent officers from their embassy in Germany directly to attempt to interfere and obstruct the refugee status determination of these to Hong Kong activists the German government pushed them back last week the Hong Kong government thrashed out at the German government and talking about the extradition of these two activists but their refugee status shields them but it doesn't change the fact that those who have made decisions of conscience and those who have supported those persons in making those decisions of conscience by providing humanity humanitarian assistance like the snowden refugees they are being attacked they are being targeted the snowden refugees their identities were disclosed in 2016 and from that point onward the Hong Kong government targeted and persecuted my clients with stripping away humanitarian assistance arresting witnesses in their cases and allowing the Sri Lankan police CID to travel to Hong Kong to hunt them down which happened in December 2016 the next song next slide please this is Vanessa and her daughter at Toronto Pearson International Airport on may 25th this year after seven year fight we were successful in bringing the first Stud refugee families into Hong Kong into into Canada and they now reside in Montreal [Applause] [Applause] the Snowden refugees had made decisions of conscience ethical moral decisions to stand before and to support mr. Snowden the remaining five stone refugees are still in Hong Kong and there's a twist with all of this firstly we're at a loss why the Canadian government decided not to bring in all the Snowden refugees in one go they formed part of a member of a social group which is one of the grounds under your article 33 of the Refugee Convention but yet the other five are there I could see like I have the next slide please tiene who's now in Montreal her father is the father of septum D and D Nath which is the third Snowden refugee family so what Canada has done is they've divided Janna from her brother and sister and separated Keanu from her father so we have a situation where one of the Snowden refugees families are still left behind in Hong Kong while the daughter who has the to the two siblings is now free and safe in Canada so we're asking Canada to act now to reunite these families last week we filed the humanitarian compassionate grounds application Auslan Canada act now to reunite this family without a doubt mr. Snowden's disclosures and discussions and debate that he started it in 2013 and has and has catalyzed is more relevant today than ever before in terms of the enormous resources and technologies of mass surveillance that governments used to control populations which governments have tried to convince society that such surveillance is there to protect them and that's a fallacy if I could have the next slide please this is I just would like to mention that this is set them D in Hong Kong and she's just wanted you to see this image of the little girl who stateless would like to be reunified with her sister in Montreal and over the last flight please we need no donations to continue fighting for these families and I would ask that whatever you can donate it will help and we're hoping to have these families reunified this year in Canada with that said I'd like to thank professor Frank Harvey of Dalhousie and introduce my client mr. Edward Snowden [Applause] if we can bring mr. Snowden onto the screen that would be great mr. Snowden welcome to the University Wow thank you very much I can't hear if I have the stage but I'll presume that I do first off I'd like to thank all of you for inviting me here to speak tonight I'd also like to give us a special thanks to mr. Robert Thibault for everything that he's done both for me personally and for the families who gave so much to get me to this point where I could come and speak with you today I owe them a debt that I'll never be able to repay and I'm extraordinarily grateful for all the work they've done with that I'd like to enter into the general remarks and I know this has been kind of a somber event but since it's for the benefit of families and and looking forward toward the future where they're all join us in Canada let's think for a minute about what's happening in our part of the world and what we can do to make it better for everyone and I think the way we have to begin with that is we have to look back we have to think about where we came from we have to think about how it is that we got here whatever here is and I think when we look in the early half of the last century particularly for students you know anybody who's interested in science and engineering and law and literature this was a structural change in the way our society worked and our understanding of the physical laws of the universe scientists and engineers particularly our technological elite if you will became absolutely intoxicated by the rapid advances that we were seeing in that day the developing field of nuclear physics in particular just lit a spark in the imagination of a generation it promised the potential of clean and cheap energy to just completely revise our understanding of what was possible and how we could even heal people our work in medicine but our utopian vision for the future it is never guaranteed to be realized it was not long until the work of the greatest minds of this generation reached what I call the atomic moment which is somewhat different from what physicists consider the atomic moment and this is where this generation corrupted or rather those in power at the head of this generation corrupted our knowledge our science our findings our tools toward a military purpose they took our nuclear capability and transformed it in the most horrible weapon that the world had ever witnessed a we're seeing the atomic moment of computer science once again our world is changing but the difference is that this time it's happening more quickly and it's happening more fully it is not a revolution merely in energy we're in the midst of the greatest redistribution of power since the Industrial Revolution and this is happening because technology has provided a new capability it's related to influence that reaches everyone in every place it has no regard for borders its reach is unlimited if you will but it's safeguards are not now this technology allows these institutions to monitor and record the private activities of people on a scale that's broad enough that we can say it's close to all-powerful and it's through the use of new platforms and algorithms that are built on and around these capabilities that they're able to shift our behavior in some cases they're able to predict our decisions and also nudge them to different outcomes and they do this by exploiting the human need for belonging right we don't sign up for this one of the common arguments is to say oh yeah yeah you you said okay you understood was doing but how many of you who have a Facebook account actually read the Terms of Service right like it's not it's not anything to be ashamed of you have this for your phone you have this for every website you sign up to you have it for your bank you have it for everything everywhere you have it University you have it for access to their own information systems you have it to get access to them of a library everything has hundreds of hundreds of pages of legal jargon that we're not qualified to read and assess and yet they're considered to be binding upon us and it is through this sort of unholy connection of technology and sort of an unusual interpretation of a contract law now these institutions have able to transform this greatest virtue of humanity which is this desire to interact and to connect and to cooperate and to share to transform all of that into a weakness and now these institutions which are both commercial and governmental have built upon that and built upon that and they have structure alized it and entrenched it to where it has become now the most effective means of social control in the history of our species maybe you've heard about it right this is mass surveillance when I came forward to reveal the first system of global truly global mass surveillance back in 2013 which was being run not just by the United States government but actually a real-life conspiracy as as hard as that is to believe it's a real thing it's in government documents you look at it online even the White House has refused to die of a group called the five eyes these are the Anglophone governments which would be the United States Canada Australia New Zealand and the United Kingdom and the revelation of this activity which functioned for those of you who don't recall scuse me by working with companies right this this was a collaboration between corporate and government power and government in the United States this began under the Bush administration and was embraced and extended by Obama and it's continued to get worse under the current administration they would go to the largest web platforms in our country and in your country and everywhere else each government would go to their own and they would try to induce them into willful cooperation in most cases beyond what the law required by appealing to a sense of patriotism or a desire to increase public safety and where that wouldn't work in many other cases coercion and they would get these groups to act as agents of government be able to hand over your entire gmail account everything you've ever typed into Facebook clicked on Facebook every site you've ever gone to where you're logged into Facebook but it just has that like button on the page all of that was recorded right and it was poured into a system that didn't just touch internet connections but it touched phone calls and everything else and this is a global heat map of where the surveillance was happening most intensely just from the US part of the operation so unfortunately this doesn't reflect Canada's numbers but you see some unusual things here you see stuff that wouldn't surprise you you see the war zone is sort of red hot and you see China is getting closer red ribbons more surveying what's right what an unusual thing is you would see a traditional adversary like Russia is actually less intensely monitored than the United States itself you see Germany is being intensely surveilled things like that traditional allies and this surprised a lot of people because we've constantly been told this was for all good it was for armed protection and the only reason we weren't told about this was because if we knew people would die but when you actually looked at top-secret documents and all of these materials were classified before the days of 2013 their own documents written by their own lawyers said that the real reason these programs were classified was because they fear Davises of their own words quote damaging public debate and that's about the scale of their activities and that would open them up to legal challenges because they know they had gone far beyond the law even by their own counting the u.s. national security agency they're the ones in charge or sort of this mass surveillance operation internationally and the FBI does a lot of the tapping domestically by their own count they were violating our laws thousands of times a year I think two thousand seven hundred and seventy-seventh six two thousand seven hundred and seventy six times in a single quarter or calendar year I can't recall precisely and this just continued and continued and it spread and it became more and more entrenched and it was funny because people tried to speak against this internally there was a man of a whistleblower prior to myself by the name of Thomas Drake he was a senior executive and he went inside the agency to his superiors he went to the General Counsel the top lawyer at the NSA he went to the inspector general who's sort of the head of a investigatory watchdog agency that's supposed to keep the government line he even went to Congress and told them about these activities and what happened they didn't thank him they didn't change the program they didn't go oh yes mr. Drake you're you're right these programs go beyond what the law permits they go beyond what the US Constitution our basic law permits the Fourth Amendment gives us freedom from unreasonable search and seizures without a probable cause given by police officer to a court and get a warrant sample these things and instead they just wanted to collect information about everyone everywhere in advance just in case they became interesting later right they the idea if you want to think about what had changed that made this new that made all this mass surveillance interesting and novel was it was proactive surveillance historically didn't you know people go all why'd you work for the NSA if you have problems with with surveillance right well the idea is once upon a time if you think back to Cold War histories or at least propaganda we in the West distinguished ourselves from you know the traditional adversary nations the Stasi and the KGB the secret police skulking around by saying we don't do that we're different from the Iron Curtain we could do that we could spy on our own people internally and we could spy on people who have done nothing wrong we could do it better than them and we have better technology we have greater budgets we have you know more genius whatever we're the shining city on the hill but we don't because it's wrong it's contrary to our rights it's contrary to our laws it's contrary to our values this is exactly the opposite of what we were trying to build and so we performed retrospectives 4-valent surveillance rather than prospective surveillance we would wait until someone came to our attention you know third division of the missile Corps or some general sitting by the desk or someone we suspect of being a spy or a terrorist or we think this person is a kidnapper and we get their phone number we see where they work we go you know this is the battalion to which they're attached and then we begin monitoring that line they begin monitoring that frequency we begin monitoring that channel we begin monitoring that patch of Earth from satellites the important concepts to understand here is that the targeting was largely done on a very individualized basis and it was done after a suspicion had been developed a suspicion of wrongdoing right or some kind of oppositional activity after September 11th the policies of the United States changed now it's interesting it's interesting and very historically important to understand that this plan for this new system of mass surveillance was not created in the wake of 9/11 in fact it had already been written the u.s. Patriot Act you all may have potentially heard of which really changed the way our surveillance and this or counterterrorism strategies worked had been sitting on a shelf for years ready to go but our legislature didn't believe it was they were in a position where they could pass it there wasn't that kind of support but after the entire nation had been victimized everyone was grieving and angry and fearful it passed what they think only a single dissenting vote and now we live in this new world right and the program started slowly and they started intensely secretly the author of the Patriot Act since 2013 has said he did not believe it was not his intent and it was not his understanding that the Patriot Act or any of the laws passed since then authorized these activities at all but the intelligence agencies secretly interpreted laws in such a way that they believe is that they did and they didn't need to inform the full body of our legislature about that we have 535 members in our legislature that are sort of our public remember representatives instead they told only eight these are called famously the gang of eight these are the most senior members of both the Senate and the House in the United States sort of our two chambers the upper and lower house if you will which would be the ranking members of the majority minority party for both houses and then the ranking members of the majority of minority party sitting on the - intelligence committees one in each house right and the judgment of these eight people alone and not even really the judgment because they're just giving them a notification it's the executive who's chopping off on this was substituted for everyone else in the Congress and everyone else in the nation we were never granted an explicit vote on this we were not allowed to challenge these things in court whenever we got court cases or any kind of evidence or newspaper reports that indicated this kind of activity was happening the government would say we can neither confirm nor deny these activities are occurring and as a result of this you can't challenge it in court because you can't prove it and if you can prove it it's a state secret and if it is a state secret the court can't rule on the matter because to make the government defendant is to make the government admit it and that by itself is harming the national security and the court can't even judge whether or not it is harming national security under the u.s. system because they say the branch best position to judge matters of national security is the executive well if these programs were not harming national security would have committed the greatest criminal and constitutional violations and probably in the modern history of the country and so you could see how it forms a system of incentives that paralyzes the body of oversight right and it was only over a very long period of years and years and years that stuff started to come out bits and bits and pieces but even I who had worked as a staff officer of the United States government undercover for the CIA positioned overseas and then later as a contractor for the NSA working in government facilities you know we're taking orders from government personnel working on government equipment literally pressing the buttons and using the tools of mass surveillance directly with my own two hands but working for a private company because in the United States that's just how we we do it even I didn't know what was happening until that very end part of my career when my access had grown so broad and my clearance is so deep that I could see the whole of the picture and I stumbled across a document it was one of those Inspector General's reports that was written in response to a newspaper story all the way back in 2006 and this was a New York Times journalist by the names of Jane by the name of James Verizon had found evidence and someone who was willing to talk to him in government to say look the United States government engaged in mass surveillance and they're saying this is counterterrorism program but it's collecting domestic u.s. persons communications and this was a clear just absolute violation of the law at the time even with the Patriot Act they had simply gone too far there was no way to defend this beyond political arguments and this was this story was ready to go and ready to be printed just one month before the u.s. election George Bush's reelection if you remember that name is ancient history now but not such a wonderful fella and what happened was the newspaper reporter had the story cold everybody knew it was true the government had quietly admitted to it the editor-in-chief of the New York Times which is you know the biggest newspaper in the United States was called by the White House and I believe actually he had a meeting with George Bush now the President himself and he said if you run this story people will die you'll have blood on your hands these programs will be ineffective the next buildings are gonna come down and it's gonna be your fault because these programs are saving lives every day and if we lose them if they lose their effectiveness we'll have nothing will be open we'll be vulnerable and he believed it and he spiked the story and George Bush was reelected by the slimmest margin in nearly any presidential election history possibly the slimmest I just can't remember the exact numbers and then in 2006 the reporter whose story was killed writes a book and the New York Times hears about it and they realized their reporters about to print the story they would not and that would be extraordinarily embarrassing so they print it and it becomes a massive scandal warrantless wiretapping scandal - the Bush administration it leads to changes in our laws they instantly passed a stopgap measure an emergency law it should have warned everybody something terrible was about to happen because it was called the protect America Act and whenever you see a bill with the name like that you should be skeptical of it but sure enough it passed and one of the interesting things about that law and the law that replaced it the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 is that it retroactive Lee immune immunized all of the corporate partners in the telecommunications industry the ones who you know our phone calls transit over if it had been happening or that had been violating the law plainly because they were operating only on the basis of a letter from the US government saying well you pretty please do this even though they're corporate lawyers said it's illegal if we do this but they said well the president's asking us to do it so we'll do it and they did it the problem was every single call that they collected or every message that they collected under this program was a felony and the penalty was I think five or ten years per violation and they had committed this crime billions and billions and billions of times so law passes and wipes away all the criminality and says it's okay now and the reason this has passed in the face of a scandal the whole reason this could go you know people could authorize this when they were outraged because you don't have to remember at this point George Bush is a very unpopular president they all dislike him but every politician is afraid of being accused of being soft on terrorism and what they got was they extracted an agreement from the president who would simply say this program is no longer gonna operate we're gonna shut this down we're not gonna do this anymore well the funny thing about this inspector general's report that i found so many years later which is published by the way in the washington post' if you want to read it that's a very interesting document it's a secret history of how all these programs came to be they didn't actually shut it down the president lied and the people in Congress who knew about it kept their silence what they actually did was they took the part of the program that the journalists had discovered and written about and they shunted that off but the much larger bulk of the same program they simply renamed and made even more secret and continued in a new way under a slightly new legal authority under this stopgap measure law that had been passed what had previously been called stellarwind that was the code name for it or the president's surveillance program was now split into two the terrorist surveillance program which was renamed because the public found out about and they wanted a nice name for it and then the president's surveillance program which continued and became mass surveillance that I eventually discovered and told the world about for journalists now a lot of people will look at this and they'll think about the fact that the government constantly lies when they're exposed you know they they just find an excuse and they extend these programs they rename these programs they keep operating and it's you know this this is what we should expect and this is how it will work and this is how it is happening but people become disempowered they become hopeless they think it doesn't matter they think it wasn't worth it right I'll never be able to go home again shy of basically presidential pardon or a change in law that will allow me to get a fair trial because for those who don't know the only reason I haven't gone back to the United States and to face trial for this is the jury is actually prohibited under the laws that I've been charged under from hearing why I did what I did and deciding whether that was right or wrong there is no way to make any kind of defense that what you were doing was moral even if it's unlawful I had to have the jury decide that question but the point is people get disempowered right and they go it's hopeless we can't make any progress but this actually comes back to that atomic moment all the darkness we see in the world all the problems with technology think about the nuclear era and all the harms that visited upon the world and then think about what nuclear energy does first today and I'm not just talking about nuclear power plants right I'm talking about our science and talking about the progress that's built upon it we have in many ways tamed these forces we do not control everything right and there are still disasters both of engineering and a judgement but what I want to point out is that since those stories of 2013 they were on the front page of every newspaper they were on every news channel you know everybody in the room probably thinks Facebook is spying on them and you know you're absolutely right so as Amazon so is Google so is the phone in your pocket so is everything you so are the ad trackers in every app you installed even if it's like Angry Birds right but now we're aware of the problem and everyone who cooks in any kind of study of research understands that defining the problem I'm is one of the hardest parts of resolving the problem and since 2013 we have seen something of a renaissance in digital security it was very difficult to get any kind of security research funded or products purchased or basic changes in protocols and infrastructure and programs and applications just the whole way the world works people resisted this quite strongly until they saw how uneven the playing field was and then they thought wait wait if our governments are doing this though our adversary government's right and if governments can do this today companies will be able to do this tomorrow and in fact governments and companies are constantly vying with each other today to see who can do it better and most of the government's best hacking tools and technologies today are not developed in-house in the United States or Canada or any other country they're actually purchased from industry people who previously worked for government and then they left and they developed the same kind of weapons and then we have a new digital arms trade but this awareness of the problem led to a new effort to resist these abuses and to create new safeguards and new protections before 2013 the one of the most important stories about 2013 that people hadn't really understood everyone in academia who worked in technology understood it was theoretically possible it was quite trivial to do but we didn't have evidence there was a real-world attack that was happening and developed open free societies we thought this was something that belonged to the authoritarian regimes and this is that all of the communications that you're engaged with every day you send someone a text message that's going over SMS right SMS is unencrypted you pick up the phone call someone that's an unencrypted call right when it's going over the long haul phone network you to your nearest cell phone tower is encrypted right but that cell phone tower is connected via cable to another cable to another cable to another cable to another cable to a cell phone tower that then goes to that other person's handset right anywhere on those long wires they can hear and collect a copy of that call same thing for your internet traffic before 2013 as measured by major browsers like Google of course they're there Chrome browser something like a third of web traffic was encrypted less than half right and now today the last figure I saw it was from the end of last year it was nearing 90 percent now what this means is people's communication when you went to go check your Gmail box in these early days anyone between you and the server right they could read your email and this worked for Facebook right this worked for search engines this worked for so many different services it was only things that really were tied very strictly to commerce where they were encrypted strongly while they were in transit right and what this means is there's two ways basically to get at this data about all of your activities about all of our lives right you can either catch it in transit as it rides over this global network and back then all of this stuff was traveling over that road electronically naked unencrypted since then we've started armoring we've clothed ourselves as we cross this hostile path by encrypting our communications by default but we still have the Google problem we still have the Facebook problem right we still have the all of these problems Amazon runs half the Internet now even the people don't see it because it's on their web services and what this means is you have these giant silos that are run by corporations where your communications are encrypted while they're in transit across that path but then they're actually encrypted to Google and when they reach that destination at a Google server they're being encrypted with a key that Google holds Google can now read everything because they want to mine this for data they want to be able to sell it to their partners and you know do targeting against you and these kind of activities and so they want to be able to read it right and if they can read it then other people can asking them to give them a copy right so the government goes to Google and says hey give us everything about this person that person is on and so forth or the government will simply try to steal the key and let themselves in or the company will get hacked and then hackers have it as we see in all these data breaches that happen so there's the data at rest and there's the data ad in transit and then there's the final sort of model which is the ideal that we're moving towards more quickly with each passing day which is where the source and destination of the communication are being encrypted from one point to the other right so this is you're talking to someone on your phone and you're not using normal sms's right most people are using a messenger like whatsapp or telegram and these are not that great right but they're much better than SMS or they're using something even better like signal by open whisper systems which means you are encrypting every text message you send even though you don't see it happening it just happens in the background and you're encrypting it not to Google not to any company right you're encrypting it to the person you're communicating with their device has a key your device has a key and you basically create keys right and then you use this to lock messages before you throw them over the path so unless someone has excuse they can't read them this means now when you move to this new model the only place is these messages exist the only way your data can be stolen if they pull it off the endpoints themselves they get your cell phone or to get cell phone the person you're talking to because it's not held by a company in a way that they read unfortunately lot of companies are resisting this because they want to be able to read this information they want to value it or you want to derive value from what you read governments are resisting this because they of course want to make it much easier for them to see what you're talking about and then there is a final is traditionally described but that's really not explanatory at all a better way of thinking about metadata is that clearly records when you have a communicated can you have two things or better phone call you have the number that you die to connect to someone I think I would you actually saying I'm at all what you say on the call the content of that conversation is the data the fact that you call this person the number that you call I used to call them like that that connection information the time that you call them the length of the call all of these things these properties of the communication or metadata there's a play property of metadata which is that it's very difficult to encrypt I in in many cases in protocols it can't and still be rap because metadata is used for having this think about like when you send a letter of the mail even a postcard right you have to put that addressing information long before you hand it to the postman fine where it's gonna go there are ways of routing communications without having this very identifiable very private very intrusive many what governments have tried to create a new paradigm and very successful communities this is the wall where metadata has a lower level of legal protection and the content for example they might have to but they won't see everyone who's ever called everyone you've ever written an email every time it's like what those websites were that you've connected to in some cases the places you are at when you connected to these location data the connections of your life everyone you talk to when you talk to them where your cell phone was connecting not necessarily GPS coordinates and this is just because it becomes an ad hoc sort of measure but the fact that you were in this room right now listen to this hall you had a tenant here you were at his university this distance from the nearest cell phone tower now they're exposing these scandals of the collecting all this information it's just metadata originating content and you ended up getting their phone bill right and for whatever reason they leave it laying out on the table and you see some time when they told you they were out of the front they instead called their ex right and the wrong phone for a long time and then you see that they log into the other from their exes internet address in their exes town you can actually see any of the communications that happen but you can probably figure out northeast of a system about this governments and corporations are doing this to everyone all of the time this is the status of phone today and this is where we have to come Christian what is the war of the last six years I will tell you we are winning its governments of corporations are increasingly going after metadata not because it's just they desired so much even though it is extraordinary valuable they are perfect records of private lives or reform basically everyone everywhere um they are sorry they're going after metadata not simply because they desire it not simply because it's useful because they know but because they no longer have a choice more of our communications of becoming encrypted in transit more of our communications of becoming encrypted in ways that are controlled by the user rather than a controlled by the company right they're going straight towards the other rather than sitting in a pile at Google and then we for somebody else this is a good thing like the Director of National Intelligence at the time that I came James clapper he's retired by 17 years given that as an insult right for me it's actually important pride um why am I so worried the pervasive encryption secure messaging has proven so effective right it is fundamentally reshaped the sorts of protection and its users that's to say you know some all of these bad guys from the criminals to the Chinese government's the Russians the NSA you know whoever you don't like these guys don't simply give up because their work is no longer as easy as it was when you're safer today which makes it in life a little bit harder um so they started to get creative now they're going after the endpoints now they're going after news companies they look at the endpoints as it turns out they are not as strong as we want them to be in fact we're living in the greatest crisis of computer security I think I will back out because I want to get questions make sure we have time left but I want you to thank us with three high-level trends that we're seeing on the first and foremost is actually the most dangerous part of the dynamic I mean should be easiest to control through policy foreign policy unfortunately we see very little appetite among policy makers for doing this and this is the over collection over sharing of this whole universe of data I give you your phone right now sitting in your pocket you're not looking at it it's not moving is communicating you know probably hundreds of times a minute but on the low-end definitely tens of times and that's when nothing is happening it's just all these groups more what version you're on you know doing wireless access points around you on whether the devices around you what Bluetooth devices around you this is a nice way to conceive put all of this stuff is happening imagine you could see your phone right now but the one that's checking for message updates from the server that I used to talk to my family yeah that's okay keep checking because it happens invisibly we don't print and form a consent influencer and so we are increasingly taking advantage of my advices or rather through and then these companies are able to shape and manipulate and target us and that brings us to the second twelve of this which is the older sharing data these principles you can't lose what you don't have you can use but our current status quo is very favorable to all of these companies so every company's basically collecting as much as they can for as long as they can until the laws and policies changes and even when they do they try to find activities because your life is worth like and more they know about your private activities right the more they know the details your associations your thoughts your loyalties the story times programs this is where to take the tracking your location all these different ways and it's a largely closed basis once the company starts doing this for everyone everywhere they create what is effectively academics to call the database notice enough about anyone there's only looked into this with bad faith and when you have this incredibly useful just completely record of all of these different people we've done the wrong they're just people but you know so much about them it becomes a target that it's too tempting to resist both for your own government coerce these companies to allow the government to just sort of be able to sift through this and do it the nice parts they're interested in but also for everybody else who has an interest in it to either buy it or steal it or compromise it you know leak it eventually home social threats about the connections you know the cell phone network the internet works in the same way you know how do you get to Facebook through your cell phone goes just cell phone tower goes the wires wires wires just buried into the ground you know satellite hops appear on a very rural area and eventually it goes to a server and then that server takes path across this whole fabric of wires back to a cell phone tower then back to you at the end of every one of these waters and I don't in the Facebook end I mean the Facebook ends to their local Internet service providers internet service provider 50 times until they reach you this machine it's a computer it's a router the switch is a piece of networking equipment right here is a complex computer running complex software there's now you may have heard I'm built either by enormous US companies or by Huawei Chinese I want you to think about what's happening with these changing of generations of technologies where our infrastructure creates sort of analog of that previous generational problem that we're talking about still very much exists which is passive passive surveillance rather than active surveillance describes that kind of just sitting on the wires and collecting a copy of every message that goes over it if it's unencrypted you just read it right off the wire right it's encrypted you have copy of it but you can't read any of the key but you can steal the key all of those messages which is also becoming more common but the idea is kind of access to a copy of the wires is a very dangerous thing and it's also unfortunately very common now there's other thing that all those switches and network devices can do which is communications the caster now there's a lot of fears talked about following probably their national security threat there's never been any evidence provided to support that and that's because at least as of you know six years ago when I was on the inside there was no way back door right it's like some sort of evil malicious function built into these devices that's like you know screw canada press the button and here you go all right hang on just a second I've got a message about microphone Distortion I can't hear myself so there's no way to test this the technician send me a message and let me know if this is any better this is what you can't hear me okay we're not getting we're not getting an improvement there unfortunately let me try to reconnect to the call and let's see okay hopefully he'll get back to us when he does I'm gonna suggest we move into questions and ask for a few final comments so we could move on once he comes back on let me work through the outline of the rest of the session we're gonna have I'll start off with a question and then we're gonna go through I think about six students hopefully we'll work our way through about four to six students who prepared questions students from across all four the faculties co-sponsoring the event okay this is naudi your check can you hear me ten nine eight seven six five four three two one okay ladies and gentlemen I apologize I do not know when you lost my my audio previously so if there's a something particular that you'd like me to restate you can bring me into the questions otherwise Allah just come through hopefully we can extend this event for a few more minutes so it can you on Eid can you hear me actually I I could hear that gentleman pretty flaky edie we heard almost all of your presentation it was a little choppy towards the end the last maybe 10 minutes but I think we whatever points you were making were transferred so though so that's perfectly fine and I wonder if we can just close off with some of your final points and then we'll move over to questions that the students want to ask how does that sound absolutely and III can't control your schedule but given that we lost a little bit of time if you want to extend the session to cover those extra questions that's fantastic go ahead yes so the final points here I was making were about infrastructure right and I don't believe that we actually had a known weakness in this Chinese infrastructure or it would have been demonstrated because of course this is how government works right when they find these things they expose it if it's for their adversaries because their benefit increases their credibility if you've seen an absence of that it's probably because it's not present however what they are actually concerned about is something that it's more systemic it's something that's more profound and this is the idea that the mere presence and control over the infrastructure itself they're worried about so many devices nowadays can be updated remotely they can be sent new instructions new programming code but remotely these are called over-the-air updates right this is how you get a new version of iOS on your phone it says hey update available download now same thing for your Android phone and this kind of thing is being used to in control and modify larger kinds of equipment when we have this sort of activity happening the problem isn't the infrastructure failing the fact is that devices operate as a kind of black box to everyone but the manufacturer without an extraordinary investment into a reverse engineering and this is done for a number of commercial reasons to prevent sort of copying and cloning devices but it means the real problem isn't that you know a foreign manufacturer could put a compromised device in our network right that they shipped over and it's evil of course they could right we need the United States you Canada do this to other countries every day everyone doesn't the problem is that our protocols and our paradigms our architectures are designed in such a way it if there is a bad device on our path problem at all we are very vulnerable to this sort of midpoint manipulation something that was in the stories of 2013 was not just that the United States government was spying on communications in transit but they were actually poisoning if you visited an unencrypted web site right because remember we talked about encryption before if you request an encrypted website and they didn't have a way key to read that encryption they wouldn't be able to see exactly what sub page of the website you know what this image looks like what this code is manipulated but if it's an unencrypted copy the website what they can do is they can see you're requesting you know blank page comm and they can get a copy that first using their very expensive connections right they can then take that copy that unencrypted copy put a little evil bug right malicious code in it and then send it back to your computer as if it was sent to you from the server of blank page comm spoofing a legitimate page and then they've poisoned your computer right they've hacked you basically and you didn't see it happen it looks like you just got the normal ordinary page and the server doesn't know you didn't get it it's just anyone you has an advantage in terms of surveillance in terms of manipulation and these governments have become very comfortable occupying that position for themselves and there are a lot of arguments ago okay maybe we want to do this maybe this is beneficial maybe maybe we don't right um but it's not just wobbly right while where he's being used as an example because it's interesting in the trade war this is Intel all right this is Amazon's sort of AWS cloud this is a platform that everybody's running this is Cisco devices this is anything that's in the middle as an advantage and you know we could go into any depth in this later on if you're interested in it but this is very much a structural problem and until we change our protocols the language these sort of machine languages that we use for devices to communicate with each other in a way that they are not as vulnerable this mid point manipulation this will be a recurring problem and then the final point of these three points that I wanted you to get which sort of the structure points over collection over sharing that's one the infrastructure in the middle and supply chain manipulation and the third is the commercial trade and software exploits I don't have much time so I'm going to cover this quickly but I mentioned briefly in the beginning that most of the sort of best digital weapons that the NSA has right that the Israeli Mossad has and the French DGSE has the Russian FSB the Chinese MSS right these come from commercial exploit these are private enterprises that exist for only sole purpose and that's to find the most popular applications and operating systems and devices in common use in the world this is the critical infrastructure of our digital society and attack them and what they want to find is a weak point that is universal to every device of this kind every application of this you know ideally a future versions for the coming years if you know about this vulnerability you can craft an attack that will allow you to basically take over these devices remotely right hack them and somebody else paid for the device but now the hacker owns it and this is not a small industry one of these tools was sold by an Israeli company that's owned by a u.s. venture capital firm I called the NSO group that was exposed by a Canadian research team that honestly I have to say he's the best in the world at tracking this whole sort of sector and citizen lab revealed that the Israeli company sold this to the Mexican government and it was for millions and millions of dollars I can't remember how much it was and the Mexican government then used it to spy on the president of the Mexican Senate the opposition a journalist who had written a story exposing the Mexican president is being involved in corruption and her child because they had difficulty getting to her directly human rights defenders and activists people who are looking for missing students then this has happened again and again the Saudis bought it and they used it in the operation against Jamal khashoggi friends Jamal khashoggi is the journalist who was murdered and Saudis Saudi Arabia's Turkish consulate and the idea here just to understand this on a policy level is that this is a policy problem and it will not be fixed until you lobby your governments to criminalize the trade in exploits note that I say trade not research not production right and either which can feasibly be done or really even should be forbidden because they infringe on academic equities right and it's sort of freedom of speech and experimentation but we can promote legislation that criminalizes the sale of information about any hardware or software vulnerability that has not been reported to the developer of that hardware or software right and then we can provide a venue or venues and mechanisms or victims all the commercial exploit to win damages your jurisdictions both from the company and from those who have invested and the reason this is important because it's particularly for computer science students and in the room your code is not secure today right you know that I know that and it probably never will be no matter how much you invest in it whether that's time or resources particularly if you start a company because the other developers you work with and you yourself are writing tools primarily in programming languages that aren't even memory safe I mean you're deploying them on program platforms that weren't designed for security and these platforms are being operated by third parties whose activities you are not permitted to oversee much less incidence right even if you throw a few million dollars at you know somebody who's claiming they have a magic wand make these problems go away and you'll say goodbye to your money but but you won't say hello to security it is the ecosystem that is the problem and it is our decisions as a society that have allowed this ecosystem that is very much poisonous polluted and toxic to the public vision life to come to pass but just as decisions got us here decisions can take us from here the better and brighter rather than darker future the last closing point before I turn it over to questions is what we see happening in politics around the world today there's a rise of authoritarianism that I think everyone can feel in every country the Canada's relative terms doing that acting much better than aggresses world but I know you feel it and are impacted by it as well today and one of the things I think is quite chilling is that one of the sort of criticisms that's been brought against me which I welcome to bring if you'd like to hear me sort of respond to it later on the question segment is that there has to be some accountability to the law right if it means something and regardless of whether you think what I did was right or wrong regardless of whether you think mass surveillance is a violation of human rights as Europe and sort of every constitutional scholar in the United States and the United Nations agrees or you think these are sort of necessary vital tools or or whatever you have everyone agrees or likely many people agree that I broke a law in the United States a law that forbids you from disclosing classified information even to journalists even in the public good because that's the law even if it's bad law even if it's harmful in its effect and its impact even if it was passed as it was in 1917 by President Woodrow Wilson so he could quote-unquote crush the opposition to the United States involvement in very unpopular war at the time that was the law and yet we see the same bodies that are supposed to be upholding the law particularly for rather than sort of powerless whistleblowers people the working level on the lower echelons of society we see it now with the United States Department of Justice itself where the President of the United States just yesterday we we had this sort of Office of Special Counsel that was looking into Trump's sort of rather inappropriate high activities since he's become president and looking into struction as Special Counsel said if we had had confidence that President had clearly not committed a crime we would have said so but they didn't with the implication of course that they believed that he had committed a crime the President of the United States the highest official and had violated the law and yet because of the Department of Justice's internal policies not even laws mind you but their internal policies the Special Counsel felt that charging a sitting president was not an option that was available to them and so this is the Department of Justice saying that there are people at least in the structure of the United States government who are functionally above the law and this is a dangerous thing because I don't embrace the idea of violating the law lightly and that might sound a little bit ironic to you given given my background but the reality is I thought long and hard over a very long period it happened at great risk and I worked very hard to make sure that no matter what I did no matter even if I was completely wrong if I was out of my mind didn't understand how these programs worked my political biases and the risks that I took and assumed for myself and through my actions could have affected society with would be mitigated by the judgment of others that's why I have never published a single document I gave them to journalists and journalists made an independent editorial judgment on whether these documents were in the public interest No and only then would they publish these documents only then would they make them no and even in that case they went to the government in advance of publication and gave the government a right of reply though did we understand this did stone understand this right is this harmful is this gonna get someone hurt is this a useful and effective program and even knowing the government lies they gave them this option and in all cases I'm aware of this has been followed this is why now in 2019 even though this is was one of the widest disclosures of classified information in US history and the most highly classified of them no one has died in fact if you rewind all the way back to the beginning of this talk that mentioned in 2004 where the president calls the executive editor of the New York Times it says blot on your hands if you publish this story they're saving lives in the wake of the 2013 revelations then President Barack Obama appointed two independent Commission's to investigate these programs and the allegations I was made in making to defend his administration against them they were given complete access to classified information interviewed the directors CIA dia NSA whoever they want and the very first program that I reveal the most controversial one that has since ended and long story won't cover here said although this program had been operating for more than ten years you know going back before the Bush administration after the Bush administration's sort of warrantless wiretapping scandal they said it had never made a concrete difference in a single terrorism investigation it had never saved a single life and moreover they said even in the parts where did have some peripheral value the government could have gotten it anyway through traditional means of investigation because by the time these programs were useful government could have already gotten we've got a wanted and the reason that I bring all of this together is to say that look the law is endangered and it is a very difficult challenge there are just laws that are unjust laws but we need to remember the difference in the balance of power between ordinary people between private citizens and public officials right when the highest among us are held to the lowest standard of behavior and the least of us are held to the highest firmly where does that lead us now when we have this inversion where the government knows everything about us we know nothing about them because of State seams where does that lead us and when the laws that for so many years have been at least intended or we hope engineered to protect us are increasingly being used to violate us where does that lead I would say to you ladies and gentlemen don't take it lightly whenever you run into conflict with the law but remember that what is legal is not necessarily moral that is not the determinant of right and wrong and sometimes ladies and gentlemen the only moral decision is to break the law thank you very much [Applause] let's get to Q&A oh I know we have questions and I talk for too long thank you for being patient thanks thanks very much mr. Snowden I'm gonna start off with a question and then we'll move on to the students mr. stone there's a scene in Oliver Stone's movie Snowden in 2016 I'm going to assume you had at least some role in the movie because you do appear at the end of the movie with a very powerful statement there's a scene in the movie where you collect the data you hide it in the Rubik's Cube you manage to get through security brilliant move by the way and you're walking out of the building and it's kind of a slow-motion scene and there's a smile that appears in your face and I think I understand why you were smiling because first you managed to get the data but now you have the information that you were gonna share with the public and that that would transform the nature of the debate you would mobilize the public and you would finally get some measure of justice with respect to the civil liberties that were jeopardized for so many years that's not what happened the public wasn't mobilized in many ways the public really didn't care they tend to overestimate threats that are non-existent like terrorism and they tend to underestimate threats that are surrounding them on a daily basis and the policies never change you know Clinton Obama the Trump they never change they never changed between Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau c-51 looks like c59 two points first that must be incredibly frustrating and - did you overestimate the nature of the debate and the public reaction the likely public reaction reaction to your revelations it's a great question thank you for asking first off I've got to say that the film of course is dramatized I'm not the one who wrote the script when I finally got out of PB NSA building some years ago I definitely don't think I smiled because I was terrified if you imagine yourself in that position I was literally working in an underground military facility buried under a pineapple filled with revolving gates that are literally called man traps right you have to badge in and out of everywhere there's armed guards as metal detectors this bag searches all of these different things and when you know as much about surveillance as I did just from the rare fortune working both the CIA and the NSA it just makes you worry more about what you don't know so I was actually much more concerned with the fact that you know were they actually on to me and they were just waiting till I got to my car where they waited till I left the fence line when they wouldn't slide got back to my house and I just had to always be be prepared to explain why you know I I made the decisions that I did in case things went wrong because that that's all you can do you have to leave in something but it's not enough to believe in something we have to stain it for something you want change to come and then this leads into your larger question which is you know didn't change come I and I think the sort of presumption of the question the Misses the why of why I did this um I I didn't set out to change the law I didn't set out to tell people you know this is what's wrong with policy and this is precisely how you fix it um that's not my position then that's what my job no one elected me the only thing that elected me was circumstance what I saw where I sat what I could prove right and I had a belief this was important for the public to know and I still believe that to be true right and I think history actually since then has established a general consensus that this was meaningful this this was to public interest to know and understand now have was changed as a result of what happened in 2013 actually absolutely we have gotten the only meaningful intelligence reforms since the 1970s in the United States was it enough did it fix the problem and you're absolutely right that it wasn't right but we haven't gotten anything since then this was the first time a law had been passed that restricted the intelligence community's powers rather than expanded it well it's sort of like you know you've got a closed toothpaste too you squeeze it on one side it just moves the toothpaste somewhere else in Canada we get 51 things like that in Germany we get a mass surveillance bills in Australia we get generalised data retention measures in Russia right which long has a history of repressive surveillance measures they get a law so bad Russians are calling it the Big Brother law and if Russians are calling something the Big Brother law you know it's something to worry about the Chinese being you know they're their own very particular sense of humor they modeled an expansion their surveillance powers after US legislation because they realized if they used a clone of our laws it would be impossible for us to criticize them France did the same the UK did the same for expanding their own powers but this is because this is the trend of technology it has become cheaper and easier for all of these governments to do this in a broader and more intrusive way and the only restraints that we the people can impose upon them are either policy based through people sitting in agencies right agency staffs and chiefs and these are very much political animals they get to these positions of decision Authority they're a certain level of ambition which makes them answerable to the actual political figures above them and the political figures have no appetite to impose the kind of restrictions that the public needs upon these agencies because they're worried about unfair crazes right they're not worried about good-faith debates because those don't exist in the modern political context they're worried about the bad faith distorted out-of-context attacks that will say you know they're hugging terrorists and whenever some psychopath pulls out a knife and you know stabs people in the supermarket or drives over them with a car they're gonna say it's this senators fault this member of Parliament's fault well of course it's not and this is the thing we can't abolish crime and we need to remember the terrorism itself is a crime but we can combat it without destroying the rights that we are trying to defend from these criminals and this is what I think is is what we've seen since 2013 and why I remain optimistic despite all these negative trends is that if you ask people particularly young people you know do they care about privacy they actually care more about particularly digital privacy then the older generation because they know what it looks like when it goes wrong where everybody in this room right now probably has a friend who had a photo of them you know when they were drunk or otherwise an embarrassed a compromising position it was posted on social media without their consent and another lost them a job or got them in trouble with their parents or you know their significant other or any of these things and those are small stakes but they're very personal right and it makes them understand the problem is very real and the funny thing is when we talk about changing the structure and the fact that yes 2013 didn't wave a magic wand to reform and bring us into the utopia that we all dream of it did let us take a step forward to a common understanding of facts by regardless of whether people are conservative regardless of whether they're liberal in the political leanings they do understand they are being spied upon and not just by their own government which they might trust right but every other government and companies that they don't trust and when we look at all of this and we start to develop a common understanding and we start to at least agree that these are things that we dislike but we don't feel that we can control them it brings us back to that moment of the Patriot Act right the government had a plan they had a desired set of reforms that they couldn't institute because they didn't have an opportunity we the public have a desired set of return reforms that we cannot realize because look even if you pass the best laws in the world in Canada it's not gonna do anything about Facebook Facebook doesn't care about your laws they don't care about that you use gdpr right they're dancing around it but their law their site right now is in flagrant violation of the gdpr right which has threatens a four percent of global revenues penalty which is staggeringly high in this context but they haven't made their site compliant right because they know they can drag it out through the legal system for ten years and by the time anything's found against them the laws will have been changed they'll be on to the next round however eventually we will reach a point of crisis and this is when all true forms come forward it's when they push one step too far because all of us may have different pains we may have different sort of strengths with which we feel this we may have different levels of commitment to which we're willing to oppose this but we all share an understanding of a sense of violation and understanding what belongs to us what is our private space and even if we have nothing to hide right even if we are the most ordinary person in the world we still feel a sense of intrusion into our dignity that I think we are offended by and so when we say you know the problem hasn't been solved I say yes you correct the problem hasn't been solved yet well we have a long time ahead of us thanks very much first question is from Emily third year computer science student are we gonna have that read out ya know she should be try that the public has become more or less resilient to the manipulation they were subjected to as a result of the NSA's prism program uh yeah you know when we when we look at the difference between sort of then and now there was an astonishing reaction to the idea that President Barack Obama who by all polling at least was a very respected and relatively trusted American president using these tools of master violence against everyone sort of every grader even against his closest allies a story came out at some point that even said he was spying on Angela Merkel's phone calls right like as if she was a terrorist when they had a very close relationship they embraced they were in public events uh and it was perhaps the largest scandal of his administration if these programs had been revealed under a president Donald Trump it is my belief that Donald Trump would no longer be President the only reason we had a response that was in any way tempered in 2013 it was because of a general faith and the basic goodness of the system of government and values of the United States which is funny because in some parts of the world you know that's a laughable thing almost an offensive thing but to many particularly in the developed influential parts the world the elite segments of opinion that's taken to be sort of an unquestioned thing I don't believe that today we still have that same status quo thanks very much Trevor Rose third-year faculty of arts and social science student hi first of all it's an amazing honor I'm just wondering how do you think that the focus on you and other whistleblowers as motive cultural and political icons has affected attitudes toward whistleblowers and just the general need to hold powerful entities accountable this is a good question but it's a very difficult question thank you for asking it I I think when we look at the public attention on whistleblowers the message is very much mixed at least in the United States we have Chelsea Manning who revealed US war crimes like unlawful killings of civilians and journalists the unethical and unlawful treatment of detainees in Guantanamo Bay people have forgotten about that but much of that reporting was informed by the work of Chelsea Manning and then WikiLeaks and then we go on and we go into the future we see the stories of people like Daniel Hale who was just arrested as what the DOJ alleges is a source of reporting about the US drone program and extrajudicial killings there when we talk about Terry Albury who was arrested as a source of reporting related to the FBI's sort of abuse of racial minorities in our investigation practices when we look at reality winner who revealed a single document according the government from the NSA on the day former FBI director James Comey was fired by Donald Trump showing what the NSA analysts presumed to be or assessed to be Russian targeting of us electoral infrastructure which is a story which is actually very poorly covered in the United States media relative to all the other sort of allegations have happened in that sphere she got the longest sentence of a civilian whistleblower in in US history I believe 63 months so Chelsea Manning who was sense 235 years she was in the military so it was a slightly different system was then her had her sentence commuted by Barack Obama um after seven years was held in conditions either the United Nations considered to be equivalent to torture and then you see the case of myself where I'm exiled right I was trying to go to Latin America and the United States government canceled my passport when they heard I had left Hong Kong on route to Ecuador and I applied for asylum in 21 different countries around the world I think one of which was Canada but also Germany France places like that and none of them had been willing to let me come so we see this larger awareness and whistleblowers at the same time we see an increasing sort of crackdown on them both by the United States government and very unfortunately their allies and I think it's a very dark thing sort of a cruel irony the idea that the only way in American who can reveal or who has revealed uncontroversially a criminal act by the United States government violation of Human Rights not just in the United States but around the world is not safe in Canada or Europe um III think that's a dangerous thing and while the increased awareness of it and and sort of public understanding of the importance of access to not just true but provably true facts in a paradigm where everybody's talking about things like fake news is a very powerful force but I think it's very important that as the public look at all of these whistleblowers who are being in jail right and who are in circumstances that are very much worse than my own and we support them and this just to bring it back to the reason that this talk is for the benefit of which is talking to me and help the families who helped protect me right when I was in Hong Kong and I had nowhere to turn I knocked on their door and they opened it and they welcomed me in that they had nothing you know I was incredibly vulnerable they knew it was a dangerous situation and yet they still helped me when we look at the concept of sort of whistleblowing and where it's going I think as long as there are people like that still in the world who are still willing to stand up we still have a chance mr. Snowden I think it's it's probably around four o'clock in the morning you've already spent quite a bit of time crystallizing for us the nature of the problem I'm gonna try to squeeze two more questions in and then make some closing comments how does that sound sure I'll try to be brief if you want to get in one more I'll make the time for you but I understand probably have classes to get to fantastic next student is Nicholas Murray second year Bachelor of Science student hi mr. Snowden thank you for having this talk tonight it's amazing to be here I thank the people that are here um so I just like to ask you across the West and you alluded to this in your talk right wing populist parties are coming into power such as in Austria and Hungary and they're using fear-mongering of terrorism as one of the ways they can gather support notably amongst young people I'm just wondering if the progress that you've made if you think that the progress that you've made and other whistleblowers have made in making the public aware of the mass surveillance problem is there a threat to that progress made by these populist parties I think it's not really about the progress made excuse me by myself or whistleblowers it's about the progress made by a free society more broadly there is the of progression and regression no and we are very much in a regressive regressive moment strictly when we're talking about public liberties right even if you support these parties we don't have to say these things are bad even though I very strongly disagree with these authoritarian leanings that we see spreading so broadly across society but let's say you're one of the people who happen to be sympathetic to these many of these people consider themselves to be Patriots right many of these people believe themselves to be protecting their homeland but I would argue if you are so fearful of foreigners that you are willing to destroy your own rights the rights of your family the rights of everyone who lives in your country you are not protecting anything you are in fact harming and if you want to be strong if you want to be courageous if you want to be powerful if you want to be able to hold back the dark tide that you fear so greatly the way that you show strength is not through fear it's not for a closing off is not through sort of a retracting into your shell until you hope the problem goes away but by showing resilience by showing - even when there are bad people even when there are criminals even where there are psychopaths and all the people you disagree with and actually terrible people out there you have built a society that can survive them that can respond to them that can try them in open course that can establish and prove their crimes you know beyond a reasonable doubt for everybody that is washing watching them and they can then imprison them like you punish them for the violations that they know because you have built a system that is stronger than yourself if you can't have faith in your country if you can't have faith in your system that is greater then your fear of someone who doesn't look like you I don't see that as strength I see that as weakness thanks much it was so last question from Peter Fross second year Bachelor of Commerce students I want to say thank you how can individuals and companies protect our security and autonomy when faced with competitive pressure to adopt technology that compromises us well that's that's a great question and it's a very difficult question because this is this actually applies on the policy basis to one of the arguments the evergreen arguments that you don't really hear in in public much but you do hear and in policy circles I add the think tanks when they talk about these things is when they actually admit that all these civil liberties organizations and all these do-gooders actually have a point and they will admit privately yes these are violations of law and our rights and our values and all that stuff sure true fair right won't say that in front of the newspaper but will say that privately but then they go but if we did what you said that would be unilateral disarmament all the bad people in the world would still be using those capabilities right but we ourselves would have let them down and so we would be attacked by the very things that we would be had given up and we wouldn't be able to respond with them in kind and the funny thing is the answer is when you look at this at at least on the policy level well is that well yes that is the point that is leadership that's that's what it means it means being the first to do something an attempt to establish a new norm and then you punish infractions of violations of that norm and we have seen this happen in the last century in the context of nuclear arms and in fact it has been effective there are many countries now that possess nuclear arms and in all of them are afraid to use them even more companies possess biological weapons but all of them eager to use them when you create a new weapon when you create a new tool when you create a new thing a new capability there are really two questions to be faced one is can you do it and that's the one which of course many people are sort of seduced by but then there is the other side of that which is you do it I mean that's a very different question and and so the way of looking at this is that right now it is difficult particularly in the commercial space to give up this free stream of money look whether you are in charge of a website whether you have a game networker anything any anything that involves a mass audience if you abuse your own audience it is actually more profitable now then treating them respectfully and with dignity and if that is the case of course the incentives appear to be in the direction but their short-term gain and long-term gain and I think because the pendulum is pinned so far in one direction in our historical moment it is very difficult for us to imagine any other possibility what it would look like in a different way and I think the biggest missed opportunities they are those who are not looking at how do they compete in the current paradigm while giving up these capabilities on how can one off it from destroying their competitors paradigm because if you destroy the business models Facebook if you destroy the business model Google if you destroy the business model of all of these commercial and government methods of abusing people at a global scale right for personal privatized benefit if you make that impossible you will be not just rewarded you will be applauded in a way that I think will be truly historic thank you [Applause] thank you very much mr. Snowden for joining us this evening you risked your own personal safety and freedom to reveal the US surveillance program and you've sacrificed a great deal for a very principled cause the Wall Street Journal revealed on April 24th that the NSA is currently recommending dropping their phone surveillance program at least with respect to the phone surveillance program the NSA now sees no compelling value added justification for the program when compared against the costs and the enormous consequences that you outlined tonight on April 25th you tweeted first they laugh at you then they fight you then they admit you were right all along and maybe shouldn't have been violating everyone's rights in the first place these these are very positive signs that your sacrifice succeeded in pushing us in the right direction a pretty clear indication of your efforts are paying off so on behalf of the faculty students alumni members of the Dalhousie community everyone attending tonight and watching online I want to thank you very much for your sacrifice and from joining us tonight [Music] [Applause] I don't know if you can see it this is standing ovations thank you so much mr. Snowden I have a few people I want to thank I don't know if you want to go to bed or stick around for those thank yous I'll leave it to the tech folks to either keep you on or turn you off but I'll take your lead on that well we'll step out now so you can fantastic thanks again thank you so much for all of your time and thank you everyone for your support of the families and please please please glad the last thing that I have to say is so many people when they may see me go you know they they tell me be careful or good luck and you know I I don't want you to be careful and I'm not going to be careful I want you to be free and stay free thank you so much a good [Applause] took a lot of people to piece this together if you can just wait two seconds for me to thank some people I would really appreciate it I know it's late I want to thank instant Young Canada the Atlantic security conference formerly the Halifax International Security Forum the president's office at Dalhousie the deans of the co-sponsoring faculties Faculty of Law Camille Cameron faculty of management Vivian Howard faculty of computer science Andrew Roush appling I want to thank the Dow has ease off us of advancement Barrett Hooper Kirsten Tobin Sarah Dawson it has been an absolute pleasure working with you on this project I want to thank our volunteers very quickly Kim McDonald Windsor Alison LAN Jill Jessi Ross Marilyn Lane Stacy de Molitor I also want to thank the folks were rarely thanked at events like this Ryan MacKinnon from tour tech for AV Chuck Calder for live streaming and Nick Pierce who's been working at Dow for years as our photographer I want to thank them special thanks to Sylvain Charlevoix for the initial contact with Robert Tebow he couldn't make it here tonight but it's great that Janelle and her family who are no longer here cuz the kids wanted to get to bed thank them and thank him for his efforts and finally a very huge thank you to the mastermind behind this event Sheila Blair Reid assistant VP alumni and external engagement for spearheading alumni days and open dialog initiatives and for driving the entire project from the start and finally I want to thank everybody here and online for joining us and I for the Alumni names event stay tuned for other events and drive home safely thank you [Applause]
Channel: Dalhousie University
Views: 2,501,509
Rating: 4.4753881 out of 5
Keywords: edward snowden, snowden, digital privacy, privacy vs security, dalhousie, robert tibbo, digital security, dalhousieu, dal, dalhousie university
Id: oizhVJstxC4
Channel Id: undefined
Length: 124min 4sec (7444 seconds)
Published: Fri May 31 2019
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