American cybersecurity whistleblower Edward Snowden told an audience in Hong Kong that mass surveillance does not keep people safe nor will increased surveillance ensure safety.

Asian brokerage and investment group CLSA Limited hosted Edward Snowden yesterday at a conference in Hong Kong. Snowden spoke to the Hong Kong investors via a video feed from his sanctuary in Moscow.

In his talk, he referenced recent terrorist attacks in France, Canada, Australia and the UK where the perpetrators were known to authorities but their attacks were unable to be thwarted. This, he said, is the new face of terrorism.

He also said that government should be there to champion the rights of citizens. He said a free society is built in partnership between people and government; and governments should be accountable to people, but there is a new dynamic where this is reversing and individuals are becoming increasingly more accountable to governments. Snowden's remarks were timely in Hong Kong, where earlier this week Beijing's top envoy in Hong Kong made remarks that appeared to say the Chinese government was above the law in its affairs in Hong Kong.

Interestingly, Snowden also said that if offered a pardon by the United States government, he would take it.


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