Snowden to participate in live Q&A

Edward Snowden will be having a live Q&A at 11:00 am Eastern US time today. I will not be able to follow it live but it should be interesting, especially since he is in hiding and you can be sure that the NSA will be trying to track him down. They likely already know where he is but there is nothing they can do at the moment.

Meanwhile, there are more revelations from Snowden that the heads of state and their entourages at past G20 meetings had all their communications monitored by the British government that set up elaborate systems to do so.

This included:

  • Setting up internet cafes where they used an email interception programme and key-logging software to spy on delegates’ use of computers;
  • Penetrating the security on delegates’ BlackBerrys to monitor their email messages and phone calls;
  • Supplying 45 analysts with a live round-the-clock summary of who was phoning who at the summit;
  • Targeting the Turkish finance minister and possibly 15 others in his party;
  • Receiving reports from an NSA attempt to eavesdrop on the Russian leader, Dmitry Medvedev, as his phone calls passed through satellite links to Moscow.

Before everyone adopts the jaded ‘So what’s new? Didn’t we already know that they did this?” attitude, we have to realize that plausible deniability has always been an important element of government actions. As long as there is no confirmation of their wrongdoing, governments can refuse to acknowledge them and maintain the high moral ground.

So having confirmation of suspicions is an important step forward in creating greater accountability.


  1. machintelligence says

    Two questions remain for me: Why did they bother to do it?
    Since they presumably found nothing of great value, why did they keep the
    evidence of their snooping around?
    I suppose “because they could” is the answer to both.

  2. PeterG says

    I’m very intrigued by this remark of Snowden’s:

    “when NSA makes a technical mistake during an exploitation operation, critical systems crash. Congress hasn’t declared war on the countries – the majority of them are our allies – but without asking for public permission, NSA is running network operations against them that affect millions of innocent people.”

    Is he referring to any specific network outages or other unanticipated industrial events? Which countries? Which infrastructure?

    I remember reading about the SCADA research at the Idaho National Lab and thinking “huh, that’s interesting”, then we learned about Stuxnet and Flame. I wonder if we’ll soon learn about some other operation here…

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