Snowden calls on peers to develop anti-surveillance tech

Edward Snowden picture

Edward Snowden wants the cybersecurity industry to channel its expertise into creating technologies that prevent governments from snooping on their citizens' online activities.

Snowden, who has become a torchbearer for the anti-surveillance movement after systematically leaking details about US efforts to keep tabs on its residents, was speaking at the Hackers On Planet Earth (HOPE) conference in New York over the weekend.

During his presentation, he called on the audience to pool their resources to create anti-tracking technologies that will encrypt messages and allow people to communicate anonymously online.

"You in this room, right now have both the means and the capability to improve the future by encoding our rights into programmes and protocols by which we rely every day," he said.

"This is what a lot of my future work is going to be involved in."

His conference presentation was broadcast via video link from Russia, where Snowden was granted asylum in June 2013 in the wake of revelations he made about the activities of the US National Security Agency (NSA).

It is understood he has since found work in the country as an IT contractor, but according to a report on Reuters his Russian visa is due to expire at the end of this month.

If the Russian authorities decide not to extend his rights to say in the country, he faces being sent back to the US where he faces criminal charges over his decision to leak classified information about the NSA's activities.

In his most recent round of revelations, published last week, Snowden claimed nude photos accrued by the NSA during its surveillance activities were "routinely" passed around by some members of staff.

The claim was made during a seven hour interview with The Guardian newspaper, where he also shed some considerable light on his life in Russia.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.