Snowden on Apple Case: Security for All or Security for None

Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden Photo credit: ReasonTV / YouTube
Reading Time: 2 minutes

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has called the legal battle between Apple and the US government “the most important tech case in a decade.” In an interview at the Liberty Forum last month, Snowden, speaking from his exile in Russia, said the choice in this fight is whether “all of us have security, or none of us have security.”

One of the reasons the case is so important, Snowden argued, is that this challenge to the government’s authority takes place in an open court and not behind closed doors like so many previous ones.

The whistleblower also blasted those in power, saying they are “excusing themselves from accountability to us at the same time they’re trying to exert greater power over us. And that I think leads to an inevitable result over time. Whether through good intentions or bad, that the public is no longer partner to government, but merely subject to it.”

Snowden also dipped his toe in the presidential race but, for now, he will remain on the sidelines as a neutral observer.

“One of the reasons I haven’t endorsed anyone in the election is I don’t believe there’s anyone in the race that represents my values at the current time,” he said. In any case, he indicated that it is unclear whether he will be able to vote at all because his passport has been cancelled.

Lastly, Snowden discussed what it would take for him to return to the United States and he explained how his thinking on the issue has evolved as a result of the input he received from fellow whistleblower and WhoWhatWhy Editorial Advisory Council member Daniel Ellsberg.

“Originally, I volunteered myself for prison, but I said that I wouldn’t  be, I wouldn’t allow myself to be held up as a deterrent to other people who are trying to do the right thing,” Snowden said. “And that was fundamentally contrary to what the government wanted to do. Of course, they wanted to nail a scalp on the wall as a warning to the others.”

However, after talking to Ellsberg, Snowden is now willing to “return if they guarantee a fair trial where I can make a public-interest defense of why this was done and allow the jury to decide if it was right or wrong in the context of both legality and morality.”

Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Police officer with battering ram (Rizuan / Wikimedia – CC BY-SA 3.0) and iPhone (Karlis Dambrans / Flickr – CC BY 2.0)

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6 responses to “Snowden on Apple Case: Security for All or Security for None”

  1. (Comment by @Luma923) Snowden’s latest “crime” is his incredible Jan 2014 revelation, via US govt that NSA…installed microchips in pcs

  2. artemis6 says:


  3. (Comment by @39cbf1da7cbc4e5) Sorry…Snowden. In America there is no such thing as a fair trial.

  4. david t. krall says:

    If he returns…at any or at some point he will become “ill” and succumb to some untreatable ‘ailment”…”They” want to extract their retribution, and their pound of flesh…..and will never allow him and his legal advisors to “talk”, make a strong case and project his rightful views in any public forum – especially a public court room. That would be too embarrassing and would bring way too much attention on deep state based individuals and sectors… past and present, who just might be called to testify. He may be duped and deceived into thinking that he will have a public forum….but that will not be the case…they will make him pay…and not after a major open courtroom hearing forum..

  5. whodbelieveit says:

    Mr. Snowden did exactly the right thing when he told Americans what their government was doing behind their backs. Abstaining from voting is also the right thing to do because no one is elected by the people, they are chosen by others. It is not representative government, it is coercion and force by the oligarchy/bureaucracy. Mr.Snowden should just get on with his life because if he returns to the US he will be a scalp on the wall. A fair trial is not in order in a country that has people like HR Clinton still in politics. Her crimes far exceed those of Mr. Snowden.

    • EmNotEx says:

      I too would not recommend that Edward Snowden return to the USA. The US judicial system is not to be trusted.