Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer, called National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden a “hero because this [information leak] came from his heart.”
“He’s a hero to my beliefs about how the Constitution should work,” Wozniak told The Daily Beast. “I don’t think the NSA has done one thing valuable for us, in this whole ‘Prism’ regard, that couldn’t have been done by following the Constitution and doing it the old way.”
One of the partners in how we use the Internet, Wozniak explained what the difference in what he expected the Internet and email to be (private), versus what it has become (completely public).
“When the Internet first came, I thought it was just the beacon of freedom. People could communicate with anyone, anywhere, and nobody could stop it,” he said. “Now it turns out that every single thing we send as email counts as publicly viewable and it’s totally open and exposed, and can be taken for whatever reason. That wasn’t supposed to be.”
He described the Internet as something that was meant to give average citizens more power and convenience, though admits that it has become totally misconstrued and misused.
“We thought it was going to elevate the really average people over huge, big, controlling governments and protect us from tyrants,” but now “it allows the tyrants to get tighter control over more and more of our lives,” he said.
Wozniak was primarily concerned with the NSA’s handling of Snowden’s case, and the spying on Americans using metadata, because he thinks it goes against the Constitution.
He asserted that once the government labels something as “terrorism” or “war” that it uses those terms to skirt the Constitution and more quickly persecute citizens.
“I don’t think terrorism is war. I think terrorism is a crime. And by using the word ‘war’ we’ve managed to use all these weird ways to say the Constitution doesn’t apply in the case of a war,” he said. “And I think Edward Snowden is a hero because this came from his heart. And I really believe he was giving up his whole life because he just felt so deeply about honesty, about spying on Americans, and he wanted to tell us,” he said of the current persecution of Snowden.
He first admitted that the NSA has fair reasons for the surveillance, and admitted that there were restrictions on the spying that he called “very good.”
However, he made clear in the interview that the measures the NSA is taking at present are against Americans’ basic rights because the court has skirted around the issue of obtaining warrants fairly.
“The way I was brought up, the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution means you have to have two people testify that this person is likely doing something very wrong just to get a warrant and a court order from a normal court,” he said.
Wozniak’s reserved his harshest remarks for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
“Why do you set up a little private court? That’s like saying, ‘I need a warrant and I’m going to give one to myself.’ What it leads to is judge, jury, and executioner. It’s the same thing as lynch mobs.”