NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden came out of hiding to speak with a Chinese newspaper today, claiming that the U.S. is also using its recently revealed surveillance tactics against China.
According to an interview Snowden gave to the South China Morning Post, the U.S. government has preformed over 61,000 “hacking operations” in countries across the globe. He also believes hundreds of those missions targeted the Chinese mainland as well as Hong Kong, where Snowden is currently hiding.
He has been in hiding since releasing a slide deck to the Washington Post outlining a government surveillance program called PRISM. Snowden came out a few days later, saying he worked as a defense contractor for the NSA and had access to such information. After that, he disappeared, only resurfacing today to make these comments.
According to the slide deck he released, PRISM is a data collection program set up to collect information from a number of top tech companies including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple, and others.
Snowden explained to the SCMP that these individual company requests aren’t the only way the NSA gets data.
“We hack network backbones — like huge Internet routers, basically — that give us access to the communications of hundreds of thousands of computers without having to hack every single one,” he told the publication.
To those who criticize his choice to make a safe haven of Hong Kong, he explained that he intends to fight for his rights there, and that the Chinese city — which was under British rule under 1997 — until has a rich history of free speech efforts.
Edward Snowden image via The Guardian video