Sporting a black shirt in front of a black background, it seemed as though his head had emerged from the ethernet itself. The NSA whistleblower who had disclosed thousands of secret internal documents from his former employer was conducting the Queen’s International Affairs Association (QIAA) keynote address via live video feed on Thursday evening. Titled “Surveillance After Snowden,” the discussion sought to answer how democratic societies should conceptualize and ultimately confront mass surveillance. Since 2013, Edward Snowden has been held up in Russia in an undisclosed location, first under political asylum, and now on temporary residence. Following his NSA disclosures, the US government allegedly revoked his passport while on his way to Latin America for permanent asylum. During the speech, Snowden offered a critique of Canada’s surveillance practices. In particular, how Bill C-51, Canada’s anti-terrorism act passed by the Conservative government in June, had the potential to be used for purposes “that were not intended in the initial legislation.” “When we look at the experience of sweeping legislation—particularly under the justification of terrorism—we have a clear and well established record that mass surveillance is not effective in thwarting terrorism,” he said. He argued that parts of the legislation would likely […]
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