Ralph Nader: Government Dragnet Surveillance, Collection of Personal Data Threatens Civil Liberties and Democracy Itself

Posted April 2, 2014

MP3 Interview with Ralph Nader, citizen activist, author and former presidential candidate, conducted by Scott Harris


In a public video conference on March 10th, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden fielded questions from an audience at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival, an annual 10-day music, culture and tech conference in Austin, Texas. Speaking through a video link from Russia where he’s been granted temporary political asylum, Snowden emphasized the need to secure the Internet to protect against the invasion of privacy by the U.S. and other governments around the world. He said, “They’re setting fire to the future of the Internet. And the people who are in this room now, you guys are all the firefighters. And we need you to help us fix this.” These were Snowden’s first remarks made directly to the American people since he left the country last June.

Snowden, who revealed details of the U.S. government’s previously unknown collection of domestic and overseas phone and internet communications, faces serious federal charges including three felonies for espionage, theft and conversion of government property. Snowden has become the eighth person to be charged by the Obama administration with crimes under the 1917 Espionage Act, more than double the number prosecuted by all previous U.S. presidents combined.

Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with citizen activist, author and four-time independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Here, he discusses why he believes the government’s dragnet surveillance and the massive collection of personal data threaten to undermine civil liberties, privacy rights and democracy itself.

Ralph Nader's forthcoming book is titled, “Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.” Find more commentary and analysis from Ralph Nader by visiting nader.org.

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