Edward Snowden has warned that Britain’s GCHQ spy agency is a bigger threat to privacy than the NSA, as it uses illegally collected information in criminal prosecutions and, unlike in the US, has relatively few constitutional checks on its activities.
Speaking by Skype video linkup to a London festival, Snowden also emphasized why it shouldn’t be up to the citizen to justify why they need a right to privacy – something that forms the core of his beliefs and decision to go against the law.
In an answer to a question at the event, a central London ‘Observer Ideas’ festival organized by The Guardian, Snowden said
that the GCHQ uses “unlawfully collected information to pursue criminal prosecutions…to share with other countries, where they will use foreign intelligence powers to gather information that’s then used for law enforcement purposes – and this is very dangerous.”
When citizens “don’t have the opportunity to challenge [such evidence] in courts – judges aren’t aware where this evidence originated from – it undermines the system of laws, the system of justice… upon which we all rely,” Snowden said.
While in the US there are “constitutional protections that prohibit even the passage of any laws that might enable [surveillance] programs… In the United Kingdom, where you don’t have the same kind of constitutional limits on the sort of laws the parliament can pass, what we’ve seen is the creation of a system of regulations where basically anything goes,” he added.