Edward Snowden Tells How to Build an Internet Focused on Privacy



When someone like Edward Snowden, tells you how to make an internet focused on privacy and user welfare, you listen, and you listen attentively. This former CIA employee and NSA contractor is known for his whistleblowing works and defacing the USA government. After that, from time to time, he has shared his views on issues related to privacy and free internet. Recently, at a meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), Edward Snowden talked about the possible changes that must be brought to the current internet system to make it harder for governments to perform the mass surveillance tasks.

Speaking  at a webcast at the IETF meeting, Snowden said that the Internet is not for the governments, businesses, or spies- the Internet is for the users and it’s the responsibility of engineers to make it a safe place for the users. He said: Who is the Internet for, who does it serve, who is the IETF’s ultimate customer?

For those who don’t know, IETF is the chief body that creates open standards of management, use, and design of the internet. Snowden’s session at this meeting wasn’t recorded, but the attendees tweeted the pictures and quotes. This session was followed by screening of Citizenfour, which tells the story of Snowden leaking NSA documents to the media.

Recommended: Edward Snowden: NSA and Government Can See Everyone’s Dick Pics

Snowden said that the current safety protocols are not good enough as they make tons of user data available to the government intelligence agencies. Stressing upon the increasing use of credit cards in the widespread online transactions, he said: 

We need to divorce identity from persona in a lasting way.

He said that DNS queries and the actual content should be encrypted. He added:

People are being killed based on metadata.

To improve the existing conditions, he mentioned the need of a new protocol on the web. He advised the engineers to implement SPUD- a new protocol to reduce the number of gateways through which data passes. This is done by combining the transport protocols. Snowden also warned that SPUD could turn the core UDP protocol into a new channel for leaking metadata.

Continuing the discussion, Edward Snowden said the hardware addresses that are identifiable and “long lasting”, pose a great threat to privacy. When people connect to Wi-Fi, it connects to the MAC address, thus putting your identity at risk.

He said, “we need not only to think what the problems are today, but how we preserve the internet for the future. Everybody should be safe all the time, else we let others choose who will be safe or not.”

Also Read: NSA Open Sources its Linux-based Cyber Security Tool

Edward Snowden’s speech was received with an standing ovation.

His revelations were first responded by IETD in the form of creation of a new RFC document called the “best current practice.”



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Adarsh Verma

Adarsh Verma

Fossbytes co-founder and an aspiring entrepreneur who keeps a close eye on open source, tech giants, and security. Get in touch with him by sending an email — [email protected]
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