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Snowden Queries Putin On Live TV Regarding Russian Internet Surveillance 396

Posted by timothy
from the keep-to-the-script-now dept.
Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes "Edward Snowden appeared on a Russian television call-in show to ask Russian President Vladimir Putin about policies of mass surveillance. The exchange has a canned quality which will likely lead to questions regarding the integrity of Snowden's actions, in the query of his host in asylum."
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Snowden Queries Putin On Live TV Regarding Russian Internet Surveillance

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  • Useful Idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:06PM (#46780467)

    These propaganda sessions for Putin are pre-staged so Snowden has allowed himself to be used as a "propaganda tool". Considering how freedoms are curtailed in Russia, it seriously deminishes Snowden's reputation.

    • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Vadim Grinshpun (31) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:09PM (#46780505) Homepage

      While true, your statement also assumes he had a choice...

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        While true, your statement also assumes he had a choice...

        Either way, it demonstrates that Snowden is a tool. Just not sure what kind...

      • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Entropius (188861) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:35PM (#46780807)

        Yep -- if the US wanted to not give Putin a propaganda tool, they could have welcomed him back home with a guarantee of safety.

        We made our choice, and he took refuge in the only place he could.

      • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

        by LordLimecat (1103839) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:49PM (#46780963)

        He chose to flee to the two countries with the BIGGEST free speech / surveillance issues in the world-- China and Russia-- after publicly blowing the whistle on much lesser instances in the US.

        I mean we're throwing a fit about the NSA's capturing of "metadata". China just snorts up every bit of cell and internet data that goes in or out of any ISP or carrier, and they barely attempt to hide it. Im sure Russia is pretty close.

        So yes, he had a choice, and he made it about 8 months ago, and it was a remarkably bad one.

        • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

          by N1AK (864906) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @01:13PM (#46781207) Homepage

          I mean we're throwing a fit about the NSA's capturing of "metadata". China just snorts up every bit of cell and internet data that goes in or out of any ISP or carrier, and they barely attempt to hide it. Im sure Russia is pretty close.

          What China does in surveillance of their own citizens isn't acceptable in my opinion but how is "they're even worse" a valid defence for the US which has constantly acted like it stands apart on these matters. Secondly, and something I think Americans really don't appreciate, as someone from outside both China and the US I know China would probably try and intercept my calls etc, but at least they don't pretend to be my friend while they are at it which America has been.

          I'm yet to hear a good criticism of how Snowden behaved. Arguments like "he should have stayed within the system" are laughable when one considers what he already tried and the fates of others who tried, the but, but, but someone else is worse argument is relative and just shoddy misdirection. I'm incredibly grateful that he had the balls to share what he knew with the world.

          • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:5, Interesting)

            by quantaman (517394) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @04:19PM (#46782907)

            What China does in surveillance of their own citizens isn't acceptable in my opinion but how is "they're even worse" a valid defence for the US which has constantly acted like it stands apart on these matters. Secondly, and something I think Americans really don't appreciate, as someone from outside both China and the US I know China would probably try and intercept my calls etc, but at least they don't pretend to be my friend while they are at it which America has been.

            I don't think China and Russia being worse is a valid defence for the US. But I do think it's a valid point of criticism for Snowden. It is a bit hypocritical to criticize the US's surveillance activities, and then flee to the only two major powers that are demonstrably worse.

            That being said I think he did have understandable motives, he wanted to go to somewhere that wouldn't extradite him to the US. That means a country that is a) not particularly friendly with the US, and b) powerful enough to resist US pressure, that pretty much means China and Russia. As the Evo Morales grounding incident [wikipedia.org] demonstrates Europe was not an option. Maybe Ecuador was but they may not have been big enough and he still had to get there.

            It's still unfortunate that he's in Russia, I think the Ukraine incident has revealed that Putin is a bit crazier than anyone anticipated and Snowden's position more tenuous. The Russians may have been threatening to send him back to the US as a concession to ease the sanctions unless he starts cooperating in their propaganda.

          • by Lakitu (136170)

            I'm yet to hear a good criticism of how Snowden behaved.

            How about a good criticism of how Snowden behaves? He shouldn't stooge for Putin on television.

        • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Kremmy (793693) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @01:18PM (#46781255)
          Do you not remember the grounding of a presidential figure's aircraft on the basis of the possibility that Snowden was on it? To say this man had a choice is to completely ignore the situation. 100 percent.
        • What does Snowden care about free speech rights in his country of exile? The important aspect for him is that while the U.S. might drop a commando team into any Western Hemisphere country to retrieve Snowden and then say "umm, sorry" afterwards, they aren't going to risk that with China or Russia. I'm surprised the U.S. didn't just let Snowden go to Ecuador or Bolivia or wherever and then extract him. I guess that could still happen.
        • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:4, Interesting)

          by nomanisanisland (3617737) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @01:23PM (#46781329)

          He chose to flee to the two countries with the BIGGEST free speech / surveillance issues in the world-- China and Russia-- after publicly blowing the whistle on much lesser instances in the US.

          I mean we're throwing a fit about the NSA's capturing of "metadata". China just snorts up every bit of cell and internet data that goes in or out of any ISP or carrier, and they barely attempt to hide it. Im sure Russia is pretty close.

          I don't know about you, but I don't want my country to only have to be slightly better than China or Russia. I don't give a crap how bad or good Russia or China are; I only care that my country abide by the values it claims to uphold. Being China++ doesn't mean much.

          • by aralin (107264)

            You guys just assume as a fact that Russia is worse than US. I don't think that is true anymore.

      • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:5, Interesting)

        by bigwheel (2238516) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:58PM (#46781063)

        Snowden's best chance of survival is to stay in the limelight, where his keepers will risk public scrutiny if he is harmed. So, assuming that becoming a tool was Snowden's only choice, his required tool-task wasn't that bad. Just lob a softball question to Putin, and let Putin respond with propaganda. Snowden didn't have to lie or endorse anything, and it gave him the necessary renewal of his 15 minutes of fame.

    • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Hadlock (143607) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:14PM (#46780557) Homepage Journal

      It's interesting what one will do when your political asylum is up for renewal.

      • by neumayr (819083)

        And the rest of the world either inclined to sell him out to the US, or not letting him immigrate in the first place.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The sessions of any western Head of State are pre-staged too. The questions are known to all parties in advance. So what is your point?

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Snowden was probably ordering a pizza and his recorded voice was mixed and dubbed into the phone call.

      In any case, everything you need to know about Putin's "Open Russia" you can tell from his control of all media.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bobbied (2522392)

      These propaganda sessions for Putin are pre-staged so Snowden has allowed himself to be used as a "propaganda tool". C

      But that is what Snowden has ALWAYS been for Putin, a propaganda tool. Why should it change now?

    • These propaganda sessions for Putin are pre-staged so Snowden has allowed himself to be used as a "propaganda tool". Considering how freedoms are curtailed in Russia, it seriously deminishes Snowden's reputation.

      No it doesn't.

      Snowden asked a simple and direct question, as is the norm at Putin's Q&A sessions (he does them with press corps too). Putin gave a simple and direct answer. Whether you believe the answer is a lie or not, it's a question that anyone could have asked and got the same response.

      Also

    • His reputation was destroyed as soon as he ran to China and Russia. Just because some idiots still can't see through the self-promoting douche Glenn Greenwald, and his dupe Snowden, doesn't mean that the rest of us can't see what's up.
    • Re:Useful Idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @03:20PM (#46782463)

      You know, when I first saw this I though "Oh God..." but after I had a few minutes to think about it, I came to the conclusion: I, nor anyone else here on slashdot, will ever do anything in our lifetimes as significant as what Edward Snowden did last year. And now he's in a very precarious situation. I suspect he could be used as a bargaining chip by Russia. So whatever he has to say to stay alive in the near future is ok with me. I'll not fault the guy. He already did his good deed for this lifetime.

    • by williamhb (758070)

      These propaganda sessions for Putin are pre-staged so Snowden has allowed himself to be used as a "propaganda tool". Considering how freedoms are curtailed in Russia, it seriously deminishes Snowden's reputation.

      Snowden doesn't trade on his reputation -- his whistleblowing was a release of the government's own documents, and did not rely on his reputation at all (indeed the public hadn't even heard of him before he released the documents). He's not a career campaigner, just someone who had been working in the business of eavesdropping on all of us and decided that it had gone too far. That he's now effectively in exile is a cost he clearly decided was worth paying, but that in itself doesn't mean that his every a

  • Old proverb (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:06PM (#46780469)

    It loses a bit in the translation but essentially it says "When you're living with wolves, you better learn fast how to howl, lest they might think you're a sheep".

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by lgw (121541)

      Not to Godwin the thread, but the new government in east Ukraine is actually registering Jews right now today [usatoday.com].

      America learned once why it can't let dictators like Putin just invade their neighbors with impunity. How quickly we forgot where this all goes. It will take more than a sternly worded letter, or laughable sanctions, to stop this shit. And it must be stopped. It's on all of us, otherwise.

      • Re:Old proverb (Score:5, Informative)

        by mbone (558574) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:30PM (#46780759)

        The man this is supposed to be from is denying it, and also denying he ever claimed the title it gives him. See this, from Kiev Jewish [evreiskiy.kiev.ua].

  • Putin is under no compunction to tell the truth. And there's no reason to expect he would.

    • He might not even be lying. They don't have the hard drive space or the capability to spy on everyone. Of course he doesn't want to spy on *everyone*, just suspected muslims, dissidents, homosexuals or anyone else who might not support the Kremlin.

      I would remind everyone that after the Boston Bombings the Russians were very helpful in providing all of Tsarnaev's text messages. They just "happened" to have him under surveillance. What luck!

  • by david.emery (127135) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:12PM (#46780527)

    "We will hear and they will be punished!!!"

  • Voluntary? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:13PM (#46780531)

    I wouldn't put it past the Russians to stage such an appearance by threatening Snowden. In fact, that's the most likely scenario; Putin could hand him over to the US at any time.

    • by nblender (741424)

      Alternatively, Snowden could have information that proves Puten is lying and he's laid out a very public trap...

      Though his likelihood of dying in a mysterious car accident would increase exponentially...

      • by gtall (79522)

        And how would Snowden get such information given that there's no way Putin is going to let him roam free, and why would Putin care if he's caught lying?

    • Snowden's supposed MO is that he was willing to risk the ire of the US and throw away his cushy life because of how bad the NSA was. Now hes in bed with the Russians, and you want to say "maybe he got scared"?

      Come on, hes the one who is supposedly in the know about this stuff, hes the one who chose Moscow. Youd have to be a special kind of stupid to have a security clearance, contract for the NSA, and not know how repressive Russia is.

      • Re:Voluntary? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Thursday April 17, 2014 @01:16PM (#46781237) Homepage

        He didn't choose Moscow. He chose Latin America and got stuck in Russia when the USA revoked his passport. It's the US governments fault he's now in Russia and yet they try and paint him as a traitor who ran to the Russians - yet more US hypocrisy and propaganda.

  • by klingens (147173) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:25PM (#46780701)

    But you have to read the statement carefully to understand what he says. It is true that Russia doesn't have the money to put everyone under surveillance like the US does.
    So they might not do a mass surveillance like the US, instead they just put everyone interesting under direct surveillance: every Duma representative, every Oligarch, and especially everyone who is in public politicial opposition to President Putin. The NSA can't do that even when they would want to, so they simply target everyone: it's wasteful but now they can't be accused of any bias or that they target anyone they don't like.

  • A good lier should not lie most of the time, otherwise one just needs to reverse the saying to know the truth with high probability.

    On that account Obama is smarted than Putin IMHO. He does lie, but in a less systematic manner.

     

  • gets all the propaganda and the middle fingering towards the US he need's, Snowden is done. Putin wil probably use him as a giff to the US.

  • There's something amusing about Snowden fleeing from the US and ending up in Russia, of all the places. This video shows that he's making use of the channels of free speech there.

    Even more amusing was the beginning of Putin's response "You've worked for a spy agency [NSA]. I previously worked for a spy agency [KGB]. We understand each other - we can have a professional dialog." There could have been a suppressed snicker there... and he might as well have followed by saying "you know how the real world opera

    • by gwstuff (2067112)

      The text editor ate up my annotation of the above post:

      [Sarcasm]This video shows that he's making use of the channels of free speech there.[/Sarcasm]

      ...apparently it inferred that
      < sarcasm > was an HTML tag.

  • Ask Vlad Anything (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mbone (558574) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:44PM (#46780915)

    When did Slashdot become infested with NSA apologists?

    Putin does this show [mashable.com] annually. I am sure that the callers are vetted, but the questions tend to be wide-ranging, and don't really seem scripted to me. (I liked the one about buying Alaska back.) After all, it's a 4 hour show.

    Now, as for Snowden, I see this as positive. State security is not talked about that much in Russia, and he brought it up. While Putin said pretty much what Obama might have said in 2010 (in other words, it's fair to doubt whether he was being truthful), it gets it out in the open, and all in all I think that is a good thing.

  • by DavidHumus (725117) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:46PM (#46780933)

    ...know about surveillance?

  • In Mother Russa... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bobbied (2522392) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:49PM (#46780965)

    Even the questions you can ask are provided by the state..

    OF COURSE it was scripted and likely highly edited. This is 100% propaganda aimed squarely at the west by Putin. Snowden is just being used to attract attention and shape the message. He's just a pawn in a much larger game.

    Reading between the lines though, I wonder what Putin is up to. Why bother with this?

  • dunno what to say (Score:5, Informative)

    by some1into_ISP (3620193) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @01:45PM (#46781563)
    As someone into the business, there's only two prerequisites (concerning surveillance) to operate as an ISP in Russia. The first one is that you must (by the law) to store your ISP's netflow for 2 years, and to provide information for a) specific user (given by First + Last name) or b) by the IP address involved, to a) police, b) FSB or c) court, when they wanted to. And the second one, is that ISP required (by the law) to install surveillance equipment, sufficent enough to capture all the traffic of ISP's very own local clients (not the transit ones). That equipment is called "SORM" which means something like "support of investigation operations". That equipment is a bulk storage that is filled with data from selected customer IP when configured to. Equipment is controlled from local FSB office, using only E1 (smth like DS1) control channel. There's no bulk channel between ISP and FSB office because there's no bulk money at local government to pay to ISP for that. When they think they had gathered enough data. for specific subject, they can use this captured data from the SORM storage in the court. With the current ISP traffic plans, that storage can only held smth like 2hrs of all client's traffic captured simultaneously. Could you consider this as a "massive surveillance"?
  • by wired_parrot (768394) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @03:00PM (#46782315)

    I don't understand the hatred towards Snowden for asking an important question regarding surveillance. From the linked article his question:

    "So I'd like to ask you, does Russia intercept, store or analyze in any way the communications of millions of individuals? And do you believe that simply increasing the effectiveness of intelligence or law enforcement investigations can justify placing societies, rather than subjects, under surveillance?"

    It is a perfectly valid question which needs to be asked to all world leaders. While Putin's answer can certainly be seen as pure political spin, the question itself is a legitimate and forceful question to be posed. And by asking it, it forced Putin to provide an answer through which he can be measured against. He has basically said in nationwide tv that if they did have a mass surveillance system, the state would be breaking the law. This public statement can now be used to hold him accountable should evidence surface proving him as lying.

    I would also argue that the question is a far more direct one regarding surveillance than any that has been posed to Obama. And unlike Putin, Obama insists such a surveillance program is legal and necessary. One cannot reform the system without admitting the problem first. Were Obama to give the same answer as Putin to that question, the repercussions would be enormous, as it places a moral and legal standard on the role of surveillance in our society from the chief executive of the nation itself.

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