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.