On February 20, Edward Snowden addressed a wide range of questions during an in-depth interview with Reason’s Nick Gillespie at Liberty Forum, a gathering of the Free State Project (FSP) in Manchester, New Hampshire. FSP seeks to move 20,000 people over the next five years to New Hampshire, where they will strive to secure “liberty in our lifetime” by affecting the political, economic, and cultural climate of the state.
Snowden’s cautionary tale about the the dangers of state surveillance wasn’t lost on his audience of libertarians and anarchists. He believes that technology has given rise to unprecedented freedom for individuals around the world—but he says so from an undisclosed location in authoritarian Russia. And he reminds us that governments also have unprecedented potential to surveil their populations at a moment’s notice, without anyone ever realizing what’s happening.
In the midst of a fiercely contested presidential race, Snowden remains steadfast in his distrust of partisan politics and declined to endorse any particular candidate or party, or even to label his beliefs. But he stresses that the U.S. government can win back trust and confidence through rigorous accountability to citizens and by living up to the ideals on which the country was founded.