Tech giants such as Facebook and Google stack vast amounts of user data which «they are happy to hand over to governments», according to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden speaking to a human and digital rights conference in London via video link from Moscow on Saturday.
«Everything you've done, everything you've typed into their search box, everything you have clicked on, everything you've liked... Еще,» said Snowden addressing the audience in the UK Open Rights Group Conference (ORGCON19).
According to Snowden, governments were using this data to target journalists, dissidents, immigrants and other vulnerable individuals to protect their own control.
Snowden however, added a dash of optimism to his otherwise bleak address saying, «Things are going to get better… not because that's natural, not because that's inevitable, not because that's just the way things are. It's only happening because of people like you.»
The whistleblower who has been in self-imposed exile in Russia said he had applied for asylum in 28 countries adding, «I'm stuck in Russia.»
Snowden has been in self-imposed exile in Russia following his revelations that the NSA was using various computer programmes to monitor the digital correspondence of millions of US citizens and international leaders. In absentia, he has been charged with espionage by the US government, and faces arrest if he were to return home.
In 2013, Snowden leaked classified information from the NSA exposing the security agency's vast covert surveillance apparatus. He was granted asylum in Russia in June 2013 where he remains despite America calling for his extradition