Snowden: hackers must make privacy tools for everybody

By Peter Gothard
22 Jul 2014 View Comments
Edward Snowden NSA Prism whistleblower

Edward Snowden has upped the ante in his war against government surveillance, addressing attendees of a hacking conference to join together in fighting snooping by building tools to help protect the public.

Speaking from a Russian hotel via video feed at Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE), Snowden sent out a rallying call to hackers all over the world to start fighting en masse for the privacy of individuals.

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"Technology enables dissent," he said.

"The grad school students of the world need to think about what they can do to fix this," he said.

"We need to think about software as a way of expressing our freedom, but also as a way of defending our freedom."

Snowden said tools such as Tor and SecureDrop were essential, as they allow whisteblowers to communicate with journalists, and leaked documents to be distributed.

Snowden showed his support for several ideas floated at the conference including an encrypted chat app, Dark Mail - a secure email protocol that allows encryption of any local file using a web browser - as well as various concepts involving encouraging web developers to use secure HTTPS connections for all their sites, and the building of community-owned wireless networks that cannot be commandeered by government agencies.

"You guys are part of the technical elite," Snowden told delegates. "We don't want a high priesthood of technology.

"This is not about anarchy, this is not about wiping out government. When governments realise that when they do something illegal, we will find out about it," he said, "that will change the way we live."

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