Edward Snowden’s Privacy Tips: Avoid Dropbox Facebook, Google


On October 11th, the N.S.A. whistle-blower, Edward Snowden, spoke via live video interview with the New Yorker, he was asked a couple of questions on what we can do to protect our privacy, “According to ex NSA contractor Edward Snowden, people who really care about their privacy should stay away from popular consumer Internet services like Dropbox, Google & Facebook“.

Edward Snowden’s first answer called for a reform of US government policies. Many people claims that they “don’t have anything to hide,” but Edward Snowden argued that “When you say, ‘I have nothing to hide,’ that means, ‘I don’t care about this right.’ or you’re saying, ‘I don’t have this right, because I have got to the point where I have to justify it.’ The way rights work is, the government has to justify its intrusion into your privacy rights.

Snowden suggested that people should find & use encrypted tools and stop using services that are hostile to privacy. Like Dropbox? Get rid of services like Dropbox, it doesn’t supports encryption, it doesn’t protect your private files. And use alternatives like SpiderOak, which provides the same exact service and they protect the data of what you’re sharing.

In past also Edward Snowden made similar comments to which Dropbox responded in a blog post in june “that protecting the users information is always their top priority. All data & files sent and retrieved from Dropbox servers are encrypted while travelling between you and our servers, as well as when they are at rest on our servers.

What is SpiderOak ?

SpiderOak is a online backup tool to back up, sync, share, access and store data using an off-site server. It is accessible through an application for Windows, Linux and Mac platforms, and iOS, Android and N900 Maemo platforms. The cloud based backup tool allows the user to back up any given folder of his/her computer.

According to online backup tool Spideroak, the software uses encrypted cloud storage and client-side encryption key creation, so even the employees of SpiderOak cannot access users data. Some of the components of SpiderOak are open source, and as early as 2009 the company announced their intent for the client to be fully open source in the future, but as of 2014 the client’s source is not available. SpiderOak encrypts the data while it’s on your computer, as opposed to only encrypting it “in transit” and on the company’s servers.

He also said that while Google & Facebook have improved their security, but still they remain dangerous services that people should avoid. Snowden also suggested  that Don’t send unencrypted text messages, but instead use services like Silent Circle and RedPhone.

Earlier, Snowden declined the claims that increased encryption in iOS X will hurt crime-fighting efforts of FBI. he said, Even with that encryption law enforcement agencies can still ask for the warrants that will give them full access to a suspect’s phone, which will be having the key to the encrypted data and the companies like AT&T, Apple and Verizon can be summons for their data.

Edward Snowden talked about how and why he leaked those confidential documents bringing the US government’s electronic surveillance programs to light. He claimed that he wasn’t pursuing a specific policy outcome, but he was just trying to have an open conversation about these issues:

We can have secret programs. You know, the American people don’t have to know the name of every individual that’s under investigation. We don’t need to know the technical details of absolutely every program in the intelligence community. But we do have to know the bare and broad outlines of the powers our government is claiming and how they affect us and how they affect our relationships overseas. Because if we don’t, we are no longer citizens, we no longer have leaders. We’re subjects, and we have rulers.

When asked why he has not come back to the US to stand trial, he said that when he looked at how the U.S. government treated whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning and Thomas Drake, he became convinced that he would not be able to present his case to a jury in an open trial.

He said, I have told the government many times in negotiations, you know, that if they’re prepared to offer an fair trial in the same way that Dan Ellsberg got, and I’m allowed to make my case to the jury, I would love to do so but to this point they have declined.

Edward Snowden accepted that there’s some irony in his taking shelter in Russia and China, countries that don’t even have spotless human rights or privacy records with themselves. He said Russia was supposed to be a transit point on his way to America but his passport was cancelled at the Moscow airport.

Full Video of Interview with Edward Snowden

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