The NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, has urged lawyers, journalists,doctors, accountants, priests and others with a duty to protect confidentiality to upgrade security in the wake of the spy surveillance revelations.
Snowden said professionals were failing in their obligations to their clients, sources, patients and parishioners in what he described as a new and challenging world.
“What last year’s revelations showed us was irrefutable evidence that unencrypted communications on the internet are no longer safe. Any communications should be encrypted by default,” he said.
The response of professional bodies has so far been patchy.
A minister at the Home Office in London, James Brokenshire, said during a Commons debate about a new surveillance bill on Tuesday that a code of practice to protect legal professional privilege and others requiring professional secrecy was under review.
Snowden’s plea for the professions to tighten security came during an extensive and revealing interview with the Guardian in Moscow.
The former National Security Agency and CIA computer specialist, wanted by the US under the Espionage Act after leaking tens of thousands of top secret documents, has given only a handful of interviews since seeking temporary asylum in Russia a year ago.
During the seven hours of interview, Snowden:
• Said if he ended up in US detention in Guantánamo Bay he could live with it.
• Offered rare glimpses into his daily life in Russia, insisting that, contrary to reports that he is depressed, he is not sad and does not have any regrets. He rejected various conspiracy theories surrounding him, describing as “bullshit” suggestions he is a Russian spy.
• Said that, contrary to a claim he works for a Russian organisation, he was independently secure, living on savings, and money from awards and speeches he has delivered online round the world.
• Made a startling claim that a culture exists within the NSA in which, during surveillance, nude photographs picked up of people in “sexually compromising” situations are routinely passed around.
• Spoke at length about his future, which seems destined to be spent in Russia for the foreseeable future after expressing disappointment over the failure of western European governments to offer him a home.
• Said he was holding out for a jury trial in the US rather a judge-only one, hopeful that it would be hard to find 12 jurors who would convict him if he was charged with an offence to which there was a public interest defence. Negotiations with the US government on a return to his country appear to be stalled.
Snowden, who recognises he is almost certainly kept under surveillance by the Russians and the US, met the Guardian at a hotel within walking distance of Red Square.
The 31-year-old revealed that he works online late into the night; a solitary, digital existence not that dissimilar to his earlier life.
He said he was using part of that time to work on the new focus for his technical skills, designing encryption tools to help professionals such as journalists protect sources and data. He is negotiating foundation funding for the project, a contribution to addressing the problem of professions wanting to protect client or patient data, and in this case journalistic sources.
“An unfortunate side effect of the development of all these new surveillance technologies is that the work of journalism has become immeasurably harder than it ever has been in the past,” Snowden said.
Read the rest of this article on The Guardian.
Curated from www.theguardian.com