No legal means exist to challenge mass surveillance – Snowden

No legal means exist to challenge mass surveillance, said NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, testifying to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

A former NSA contractor, Snowden was speaking to the PACE session in Strasbourg via a video link-up from Moscow.

Wanted in the US on treason charges, he sparked a huge international scandal last year he leaked to the media classified evidence of American government spying programs.

“I would like to clarify that I have no intention of harming the US government or straining bilateral ties between any nations. My motivation is to improve the government, not to bring it down,” Snowden said.

Snowden told the European parliamentarians that any kind of web traffic can be analyzed and searched with little effort.

The technique can be used to identify a person with a certain social or religious group and business interactions. Using this technology, NSA can also make a list of home addresses of people who match a certain criteria.

Snowden added, however, that there are no “nightmare scenarios” where the US government would, for instance, fingerprint all gay people. However, they can follow law violators as well as those where just had the bad luck to follow a wrong link on the internet, he said.

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