Snowden a "Total Hero" for Sacrificing Life to Reveal NSA Programs, Apple Co-Founder

By R. Siva Kumar - 28 May '15 20:23PM

For Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, the former National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden, is a "total hero" as he "gave up his life" to disclose the agency's surveillance programs, according to rt.

He was asked by Arabian Business whether he thought Snowden is a hero or a villain. He had things to say about "surveillance, hacking, privacy and security", apart from Snowden. Wozniak was speaking in Dubai this month for the Gartner Symposium.

"Total hero to me; total hero," Wozniak said. "Not necessarily [for] what he exposed, but the fact that he internally came from his own heart, his own belief in the United States Constitution, what democracy and freedom was about. And now a federal judge has said that NSA data collection was unconstitutional."

Two years ago, Snowden showed classified NSA documents exposing controversial programs, which led to a public outrage over government overreach and US Constitution violations, according to time.

This month, one federal court in New York discovered that one of the central programs that collected Americans phone records was illegal. This collection of data on these telephone calls under the Patriot Act is "due to sunset in five days unless Congress can agree to address privacy concerns over the surveillance," according to rt.

"He's a hero to me, because he gave up his own life to do it," said Wozniak. "And he was a young person, to give up his life. But he did it for reasons of trying to help the rest of us and not just mess up a company he didn't like."

Snowden has been under his special appreciation, when a couple of years ago, he said that Snowden is like the Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg. Last year, Wozniak said that he briefly met Snowden at a small event in Moscow, where he was living.

Wozniak has been regretful about the role of technology in the government's surveillance efforts. He said in 2013 to cnn  that those in the digital world "didn't realize...there were a lot of ways to use the digital technology to control us, to snoop on us, to make things possible that weren't."

Snowden's revelations have resulted in an increase in demand for encrypted telecommunications. Wozniak is "pessimistic about prospects of protection," and said the problem extends back to "the early years of [operating system] development."

"It's almost impossible [to protect yourself] because today's operating systems generally get so huge that they can only come from a few sources, like Microsoft, Google and Apple," Wozniak said. "And those operating systems have so many millions of lines of code in them, built by tens of thousands of engineers over time, that it's so difficult to go back and detect anything in it that's spying on you. It's like having a house with 50,000 doors and windows and you have no idea where there might be a tiny little camera."

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