Snowden to work on privacy tech


Government leaker Edward Snowden is going to work on making technology more secure from prying eyes, he said over the weekend.

Though he did not outline specific details about his future plans, Snowden gave clues on Saturday at the Hackers on Planet Earth conference in New York.

Speaking via Google Hangout from Moscow, Snowden said that software should be both “a means of expressing our freedom but also defending our freedom.”

“We the people -- you, the people in this room right now, have both the means and capability to help build a better future by encoding our rights into the programs and protocols upon which we rely everyday,” he told the conference. “And that’s what a lot of my future work is going to be involved in and I hope that you will join me... in making that a reality.”

While in Russia over the last year, where he has sought asylum to avoid U.S. charges of espionage, Snowden has repeatedly called on developers and programmers to increase online protections so that users’ online activity is kept private. In the process, he has criticized specific companies like Skype and Dropbox, which he has claimed don’t do enough to protect privacy.

Secure communications, he said, are integral to protecting people’s right to privacy and due process under the law, and companies need to step up to answer the call.

Some companies have already responded.

Google, for instance, has announced plans to roll out end-to-end encryption of emails and has begun calling out other email providers that do not encrypt users’ emails.

Many tech companies have claimed that Snowden’s disclosures, which detailed the methods the National Security Agency used to track users through Google, Facebook and other Internet companies, have caused people around the world to lose trust in their services, which analysts have predicted could lead to as much as $180 billion losses over the next two years.