In a video appearance at a New York City forum, Edward Snowden said, “Domestic digital spying on ordinary citizens is an international threat that will only be slowed with measures like a proposed international treaty declaring privacy a basic human right.”
Snowden, who leaked thousands of documents with details of extensive, secret U.S. surveillance programs in 2013, emphasized that this problem is not restricted to one country.
“This is not a problem exclusive to the United States…. This is a global problem that affects all of us. What’s happening here happens in France, it happens in the U.K., it happens in every country, every place, to every person.”
The one-time National Security Agency systems analyst, emphasized a key question, “How do we assert what our rights are, traditionally and digitally?”
The gathering, organized by a global advocacy group, aims to promote the so-called ‘Snowden Treaty‘.
Countries who sign would be required to curtail surveillance of phone calls and online activity, and also agree to provide sanctuary for people who expose illegal domestic spying.
Organizers have said diplomats have shown interest in a draft of the treaty, but have declined to name what countries they represent.
The NSA’s collection of American phone metadata has been deeply controversial ever since Snowden disclosed it to journalists.
Snowden, who was granted asylum by Russia, exposed a wide array of secret practices, including eavesdropping on world leaders’ cellphones and even tapping undersea internet cables in their efforts to be able to spy on anyone, anywhere.