Edward Snowden has spoken out on #DRIP, the surveillance bill that the UK's major parties have vowed to ram through without any debate.
Snowden spoke on video, drawing parallels to the "Protect America" act that was rushed through Congress on the same "emergency" basis. He pointed out that the powers being sought by the Tories are the same ones that a top European court found to violate fundamental human rights, and questioned the supposed emergency that required the bill to be rushed through without debate: "There aren't U-boats in the harbor."
Snowden was presented with a framed piece of one of the Guardian computers that GCHQ destroyed because they housed a copy of the leaks he brought with him out of the NSA.
Please write to your MP right now to ask for a full debate into #DRIP.
He said the government was asking for these "new authorities immediately without any debate, just taking their word for it, despite the fact that these exact same authorities were just declared unlawful by the European court of justice".
He added: "Is it really going to be so costly for us to take a few days to debate where the line should be drawn about the authority and what really serves the public interest?
"If these surveillance authorities are so interested, so invasive, the courts are actually saying they violate fundamental rights, do we really want to authorise them on a new, increased and more intrusive scale without any public debate?"
He said there had been government silence for the last year since he had exposed the scale of surveillance by the NSA and its British partner GCHQ. "And yet suddenly we're told there's a brand new bill that looks like it was written by the National Security Agency that has to be passed in the same manner that a surveillance bill in the United States was passed in 2007, and it has to happen now. And we don't have time to debate it, despite the fact that this was not a priority, this was not an issue that needed to be discussed at all, for an entire year. It defies belief."