NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden accused Australia of undertaking mass surveillance of its citizens and passing laws on the collection of metadata that he says do not protect society from acts of terrorism.
Snowden, addressing the Progress 2015 conference in Melbourne via satellite link, criticized Australia’s new metadata laws, which allow the government and intelligence agencies to keep a constant watch on citizens.
“What this means is they are watching everybody all the time,” the former NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower said. “They’re collecting information and they’re just putting it in buckets that they can then search through not only locally, not only in Australia, but they can then share this with foreign intelligences services.”
Last month, Australia passed controversial laws that require telecommunications firms to retain their customers’ phone and computer metadata for two years.
Snowden decried this disturbing trend, warning that regardless of what you are doing “you’re being watched.”
He compared Australia’s mass surveillance system to that being used in the UK.
“Australia’s role in mass surveillance around the world is similar to the UK and the Tempora program,” he said.
Snowden, who has been living in Moscow since June 2013 after receiving political asylum, criticized the Australian government’s passage of a metadata program that is being used, he said, to “collect everyone’s communications in advance of criminal suspicion.”
“This is dangerous,” he told the conference.
The former system administrator for the CIA said such invasive surveillance technologies had nothing in common with traditional liberal societies… see more