Snowden a Surprise Guest for Putin During Interview

Reuters, famed hard news aggregation group much like the Associated Press, reported a surprisingly interesting story last Thursday.  Vladamir Putin, Russian President and ex-KGB director took several direct questions during a call-in news program in Russia, one of which being a pre-recorded question from Edward Snowden, prominent NSA leaker, and currently in refuge in Russia facing espionage charges.

According to Reuters, Snowden’s question was a fairly simple one:

“Does Russia intercept, store or analyze, in any way, the communications of millions of individuals?  And do you believe that simply increasing the effectiveness of intelligence or law enforcement investigations can justify placing societies, rather than subjects, under surveillance?”

Reuter’s reports: “Putin said Russia regulates communications as part of criminal investigations, but ‘on a massive scale, on an uncontrolled scale we certainly do not allow this and I hope we will never allow it.'”  And further that, not only does Russia’s laws not allow such an action but that “…we have neither the technical means nor the money at the United States has…”.  An expected response, but one that seems very unlikely coming from a state that was known for surveillance and terrorizing it’s citizenry during the Cold War.

Of course the political puditry in the US was quick to respond.  CNBC reporters were quick to debate and bring up that this question was very likely set up to make Russia look very good in comparison to the US.  And that in addition they were told in Sochi that the Russian authorities could look at any content on your phone at any time.

Very protecting of it’s citizen’s privacy indeed.

4 Responses to Snowden a Surprise Guest for Putin During Interview

  1. I agree with what our government respond to Putin. I am not sure if this question was a set up or not, but i think it doesn’t matter because i don’t think Russia doesn’t spy on their citizens. Like president Obama said, we can’t have 100% security and 100% privacy at the same time right? so how do they keep the country safe if they have no idea what’s going on in the society? I also agree that Russian authorities could look at any content on your phone at any time because if we can do it, they can do it too. I am not surprise if one day someone from Russia government discloses information about the government spy on their citizen because i think they do. To me, i think it’s good for the government to know what is going on in the society, so they can keep us safe. I don’t do anything wrong, so I have nothing to hide. I agree with whoever thinks that is true because if I don’t do anything illegal, I don’t have to worry. There are millions of people in this country, why would they go after me if I don’t do any wrong.

  2. CameronSchmidt

    I hate to sound cynical here, but this seems like this entire question was asked only to put Russia in a good light. Why would anyone expect a government to give an answer other than “no” when asked if it’s spying on its own citizens? If Russia is, I think we can be sure that Vladmir Putin isn’t going openly admit it. And of all people, Edward Snowden is asking the question. I would think if anyone in the world right now knows to not trust what the government says about its information collection programs, it’s Snowden. Everything about this, even Snowden’s involvement, screams PR stunt.

    All that aside though, I think it is good that Snowden’s leaks have inspired societies around the world to question their governments. By far the most important thing to come out of this dramatic chain of events is a worldwide dialogue. Privacy of our information is no longer a topic any of us are able to ignore, and that is a major step in the right direction, regardless of whether or not you think Snowden was justify in his actions. This issue is now on the minds of everyone, and I can only hope it will stay that way.

  3. Russia has a long history of spying and subjugating it’s citizens, and this is simply a political move by Putin to paint Russia in a good light. Putin is playing the game of world politics, and he’s playing it extremely well. Why would he ever answer yes to that question? It’s an obvious loaded question specifically formulated to lower the political status of the United States and raise that of Russia’s in the international community.

    Obviously the NSA spying/data collection programs are not a good thing and i’m not justifying them here, merely pointing out the absurdity of the question and the true purpose of it.

    Snowden’s leaks have changed the game for intelligence agencies, and I think that in the future intelligence gathering will be much more subtle and malicious, and agencies like the NSA will work extremely hard to prevent any situation like this ever happening again. NSA agents are going in front of congress and lying about the nature of the programs and making our government look like a joke, the programs are getting out of hand.

    It takes a lot for people to be shaken from their state of complacency and docility, however, and I doubt any major changes will happen unless some kind of major disaster occurs as the result of these programs.

  4. I agree a 100%. The NSA is trying to explain things or making things clear or trying to embellish how their security agencies work or have been working in front of congress. But you know, they are all part of politicians and with politics, even the worse thing ever on the earth a politician can make it the best thing ever seen, just with too much sugar concentration in their words. That’s exactly how the government looks like when stuff like this happens.

    But I think if what they were doing had policies and principles explaining what they do, why they do it and what people benefit from what they do, they shouldn’t have been shaken by Snowden because they should have been aware that things happen. Even now one of them may raise his hands and talk about stuff more that what Snowden talked about, and again they may be surprised. We are human beings and the human kind changes any time it may be necessary. but some people never learn from their mistakes.

    Technology is running so fast more than we expected. People cried out after they got NSA leaks from Snowden, and they formed some organizations including “Stop watching us” and others. However, while they are busy talking about their violated right to privacy and other government’s mistakes, the NSA is busy rushing to go hands in hands with technology, trying to match it’s spying program, making it so sophisticated as the advancing technology permit. So, as people had no idea about what was going on since 1898 when spying was still being done, even now they have no idea about how NSA is sophisticating his work. Stop watching us will not move them, I think the better thing is to look for a solution. To what? I mean this. The NSA is doing what it does for the sake of people’s SECURITY. This is the protector who is trying to protect us against these predator bad guys that we are talking about here. But this is the issue, when people see the protector as a predator, who else will come to protect them from this protector??

    The history will tell us more.