NSA whistleblower and privacy activist Edward Snowden might be hiding out in Russia to avoid the United States authorities, but that doesn’t mean he can’t dial in a remote video interview for The New Yorker Festival. In his time on camera, Snowden shared a few privacy tips for users, which essentially boiled down to avoiding all of those services and sites you’re currently signed up to.
While sites such as Google and Facebook have cleaned up their act to an extent, said Snowden, they remain “dangerous services” in terms of data protection and privacy. Ironic, then, that the live video interview was hosted on Google Hangouts and YouTube.
Snowden also advised users to “get rid of Dropbox” because of its lack of local encryption. As Dropbox said the last time it came under fire from Snowden, data is encrypted on the company’s servers and while in transit, but a third-party solution is required if you want to encrypt the files on your own computer. Some alternative syncing tools offer this by default.
“When you say, ‘I have nothing to hide,’ you’re saying, ‘I don’t care about this right,'” said Snowden, as TechCrunch reports. “You’re saying, ‘I don’t have this right, because I’ve got to the point where I have to justify it.’ The way rights work is, the government has to justify its intrusion into your rights.”
Snowden recommended that users switch to apps such as RedPhone and Silent Circle rather than relying on default SMS tools, and said that increased encryption on mobile devices should be welcomed — criminals seeking to exploit the extra protection can still be exposed via a warrant or subpoena, said Snowden.
As for eventually returning to the US? “I’ve told the government again and again in negotiations, you know, that if they’re prepared to offer an open trial, a fair trial in the same way that [whistleblower and activist] 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’ve declined.”
You can check out the full hour-long interview below.