Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Slams Surveillance State, Hails NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden

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by
Common Dreams

Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Slams Surveillance State, Hails NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden

Wozniak: "All these things I thought about the Constitution that made us so good as people -- they're kinda nothing. They all disolved with the Patriot Act."

by
Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has cheered NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and admonished the rise of the surveillance state.

Speaking with CNN's Piers Morgan on Thursday, Wozniak expressed support for the whistleblower and said, "I felt about Edward Snowden the same way I felt about Daniel Ellsberg, who changed my life, who taught me a lot with a book he wrote..." He continued:

Read the facts—it's a government of, by and for the people. That sorta means we own the government. We're the ones that pay for it, and then we discover something that our money is being used for.  That just can't be, that level of crime.

On the proliferation of computers made possible by geniuses like him that enables widespread surveillance, Wozniak told Morgan:

I actually feel a little guilty about that but not totally. We created the computers to free the people up, give them instant communication anywhere in the world, any thought you could share it freely. That it was going to overcome a lot of the government restrictions. We didn't realize that in the digital world there are a lot of ways to use the digital technology to control us, to snoop on us.  In the old days of mailing letters, you licked it, and when you got an envelope that was still sealed, nobody had seen it. You could have private communication. Now they say because it's e-mail it cannot be private, anyone can listen.

In another recent interview, however, Wozniak offered a more in-depth look at his thoughts on government snooping.

A chance run-in with Wozniak at an airport last week offered Spanish language technological news site FayerWayer the opportunity to get the tech giant's thoughts on the widespread government spying exposed by Snowden. In the interview, Wozniak lamented the current state of surveillance in the U.S..

When asked what he thought about the NSA's PRISM program, Wozniak said:

I was brought up, for example, and my dad taught me that other countries when they got prisoners in a war, they tortured them.  But we Americans didn't torture them; we gave them good food and clothing and everything.  And I was so proud of my country, you know?  And now I find out it's just the opposite, you know.

And I just wish all these things I thought about the Constitution that made us so good as people -- they're kinda nothing.  They all disolved with the Patriot Act.

There's all these laws that say we can just sorta call anything terrorism and do anything we want without all these rights of courts to get in and say we aren't doing the wrong things. 

There's not even a free, open court anymore.  And I read the Constitution and I don't know how all this stuff happened.  It's so clear what the Constitution says.  It's extremely clear in the Bill of Rights.  One thing after another, after another.  It just got overturned, and that's what a king does. 

The king just goes out and has anyone rounded up, killed, put in secret prisons. 

When I was brought up, I was taught that communist Russia was the ones that were gonna kill us and bomb our country and all this.  And communist Russia was so bad because they followed their people, they snooped on them, they arrested them, they put them in secret prisons, they disappeared them.  These kind of things were part of Russia.

You know, we're getting more and more like that.  [...]

Look at the guy who just turned over the information on what the NSA program was.

He said that anyone like him sitting at a terminal could instantly go and grab all the data of anyone they felt like, with no courts [...] no warrants, nobody having to approve it. 

That means there's a thousand people in the CIA that could just sit and whoever they want ... they could just go look at. 

That sort of structure is wrong.  But troubles come from the top.

Watch Morgan's interview with "Woz" below:

Wozniak's interview with FayerWayer is below:

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