Whistleblower Edward Snowden has insisted that surveillance programmes are not making countries safer, but is hurting economies and societies, in new footage released by Wikileaks
Former NSA analyst Snowden, speaking to a handful of supporters at a lavish dinner in Moscow where he has been granted temporary asylum, said he remained convinced that the tide was turning against mass surveillance programmes.
"People all over the world are realising that these programmes don't make us more safe," he said at the dinner where he received the 2013 Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence
"They hurt our economy, they hurt our country, they limit our ability to speak and think and live, to be creative, to have relationships, to associate freely.
"It doesn't make us more safe, it makes us less safe, it puts us at risk. There is a far cry between safe programmes, legal and legitimate programmes and law enforcement where it is targeted, where it is based on reasonable suspicion and individualised suspicion.
"Dragnet, mass surveillance that puts entire populations under a sort-of 'eye', that sees everything, even when it's not needed."
Guests included former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, Sarah Harrison of WikiLeaks, former NSA executive Thomas Andrews Drake and former FBI agent Coleen Rowley, Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project.
McGovern, a retired CIA officer turned political activist, said in a statement: "Sam Adams Associates are proud to honor Mr Snowden’s decision to heed his conscience and give priority to the Common Good over concerns about his own personal future.
We are confident that others with similar moral fibre will follow his example in illuminating dark corners and exposing crimes that put our civil rights as free citizens in jeopardy.
Just as Private Manning and Julian Assange exposed criminality with documentary evidence, Mr Snowden’s beacon of light has pierced a thick cloud of deception. And, again like them, he has been denied some of the freedoms that whistleblowers have every right to enjoy."