Ex-CIA employee Edward Snowden revealed to the UK’s Guardian newspaper that US agencies gathered millions of phone records and monitored internet data. It is thought that many people from inside and indeed outside of the US may have had their phone calls, emails, or facebook messages recorded.
“I think that the public is owed an explanation of the motivations behind the people who make these, disclosures that are outside of the democratic model.” Said Edward Snowden.
The inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Berners-Lee said that these revelations where the US government is effectively spying on everyone online is “Deeply Concerning”. He called for greater legal protections for privacy online. He went on to say:
“Unwarranted government surveillance is an intrusion on basic human rights that threatens the very foundations of a democratic society.”
Web users are being urged by Berners-Lee to demand better legal protection and due process safeguards for privacy of their online communications, including the right to be informed when private data is requested or stored.
Ed Snowden chose to leak intelligence documents and to flee to Hong Kong where there are greater press freedoms than in the US. Hong Kong also has the right to refuse extradition to the US in cases of a political offence. Edward Snowden is basically caught up between not only the US and Hong Kong politics but it is now a matter for Beijing to consider too. Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.
The US has said it referred the issue to its Department of Justice as a criminal matter.