Snowden told the Free Software Foundation’s LibrePlanet 2016 conference that free software enabled him to disclose the US government’s far-reaching surveillance projects.
What happened in 2013 couldn’t have happened without free softwareparticularly citing projects like Tor, Tails (a highly secure Linux distribution) and Debian, he said.
Free software’s transparency and openness are cornerstones to preserving user privacy in the connected age. He said that not all commercial products are bad, nor that all corporations are evil just that citizens should not have to rely on them to uphold the right to privacy.
“I didn’t use Microsoft machines when I was in my operational phase, because I couldn’t trust them. Not because I knew that there was a particular back door or anything like that, but because I couldn’t be sure,” he said.
Snowden pointed out that many tech giants have already proven more than willing to hand over user data to a government they rely on for licensing and a favourable regulatory climate.
Service providers as being complicit in overreaching government surveillance and since users could not control telecom partners, they were very vulnerable to them.