Edward Snowden appeared via satellite on a live stream
held by anonymous search engine StartPage.
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden made a rare public
appearance on an online livestream. When asked what he thought about the election
of President Trump, his first reaction wasn’t to offer his condolences on the
election results, rather he offered some needed perspective.
“There is no one better than Edward Snowden to comment
on how recent world developments like the US election will affect consumer
privacy,” said StartPage CEO Robert Beens in a statement announcing Thursday’s talk.
It became clear Snowden had no intentions of using
this time to criticize Trump, instead he made a larger point about what the
presidency means. First, he pointed to the Obama administration, reminding us
that the promises Barak Obama made to close Guantanamo, the secret prison in
Cuba, and end mass surveillance.
“We believed that because the right person got into
office, everything would change,” he
said. It didn’t, in regard to these issues. Guantanamo remains open and he
embraced and extended the powers of mass surveillance in America.
His intention was not meant to criticize President Obama,
but to offer some needed perspective.
“We should be cautious about putting too much faith or
fear into elected officials,” said
Snowden. “At the end of the day, this is just a president.”
As citizens, we have immense power
to change the world we live in. “Politicians do not simply do what
they think is best, they do what people think they want to hear, they do what
they think will gain them support. Ultimately, if we want to see a change, we
must force it through ourselves.
“If we want a better world, we can’t hope for an Obama
and we should not fear a Donald Trump, rather we should build it ourselves.”