4:06 am - Saturday November 7, 2015

We owe Snowden and he should not face trial: UN human rights chief Navi Pillay

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The United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has come out in support of Edward Snowden and spoken against the United States government’s efforts to prosecute him.

Saying that Snowden’s work in revealing the magnitude online surveillance by the US and other governments was in the public interest. Pillay said the former NSA contractor has sparked off a great debate and could end up making a big change in the way public understand internet security. Snowden revealed details of US state-sponsored surveillance a little over a year ago and since then more and more information has emerged from the documents he passed on to journalists.

“Those who disclose human rights violations should be protected: we need them,” Pillay was reported as telling a news conference by The Guardian. “His revelations go to the core of what we are saying about the need for transparency, the need for consultation,” she said.

For his role in leaking so-called state secrets, the United States is pursuing espionage charges against the man currently in asylum in Russia. Pillay said she is speaking in support of Snowden to bring certain issues to light that could avert any criminal proceedings brought against him.

Pillay spoke to the media after a report on The Right to Privacy in the Digital Age was released. The report talks about government surveillance, their role in creating an unsafe Internet, and about companies submitting to government requests for data. “I would say there are serious questions over the extent to which consumers are truly aware of what data they are sharing, how, and with whom, and to what use they will be put. And for how long is this data going to be out there? I would say that the same rights that people have offline must be protected online.”

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