The former Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency contractor fled the United States and ended up in Russia in 2013 after blowing the whistle on the vast extent of US and UK illegal mass surveillance programmes. He has gone on to advise people about how they can protect themselves against electronic snooping by governments.
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden made an unusual appearance at a real estate investing Zoom conference over the weekend, spending several minutes talking about whistleblowing and ethics, pivoting the conversation to attack the host for his alleged involvement in a Ponzi scheme and abruptly leaving.
“In the context of this idea of whistleblowing, it’s really remarkable to me that people go through the day and they become so familiar with this sense of wrongdoing, with seeing things like I saw in the office [at the NSA] and hoping that somebody else would do something about it, or turning a blind eye and going ‘it’s not my problem, these are not my people, it doesn’t impact me, you know I can get by with it’, that just let things happen. But I don’t do that anymore,” Snowden said in a livestream with Canadian businessman and conference host Sunil Tulsiani on Saturday.
He went on to explain that a friend had reached out to him to tell him that users had to pay to watch sections of the conference, and suggested that “in a time of inequality, we can’t accept that”.
“So I have to ask – it’s very unusual that you booked me for this conference because as a whistleblower it’s my obligation, I think personally and professionally to ask – is this you?” Snowden asked, posting a screengrab of a CBC News article accusing Tulsiani of running a $4.4 million Ponzi scheme involving the sale of high-risk bonds in Ontario and Manitoba.