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Edward Snowden calls Theresa May 'Darth Vader in the UK'

The US whistleblower faces charges under the Espionage Act if he returns to the US

Heather Saul
Tuesday 13 September 2016 15:54 BST
Edward Snowden said the NSA had been warned it attack tools could be used to target western softwares
Edward Snowden said the NSA had been warned it attack tools could be used to target western softwares

Edward Snowden has made his feelings known about Theresa May, describing the British Prime Minister as “a sort of Darth Vader in the United Kingdom”.

The exiled NSA whistleblower compared Ms May to one of film's most notorious film villains over her Investigatory Powers Bill currently undergoing legislative scrutiny.

In its earlier form, the bill proposed by the then Home Secretary would see records of internet browsing activity, correspondence and mobile phone messaging services stored by internet and phone providers for 12 months. It was blocked by the Liberal Democrats.

(Getty) (Getty Images)

The Human Rights Committee has said the bill dubbed the Snooper’s Charter is still a “significant step forward” in its newest form, but privacy concerns surrounding the bulk gathering of data are still a major issue.

The bill will mean police and intelligence bodies will be able to access metadata of those living in the UK without a warrant. Snowden has been a vocal critic of the legislation which he says “legitimises mass surveillance”, warning the public: “Your web records are not like ‘an itemised phone bill’, they're like a list of every book you've ever opened.”

Snowden, who has lived in Moscow for the three years since he leaked thousands of classified documents about mass surveillance of citizens and fled the US, told the Guardian her surveillance bill is “an egregious violation of human rights, that goes far further than any law proposed in the western world”.

Snowden is now setting out the reasons why he believes he should be pardoned by President Obama before his presidency draws to a close. Already an unlikely prospect, it becomes increasingly improbable should Mr Obama be succeeded by Hillary Clinton and almost incomprehensible if his fate is left in the hands of Donald Trump.

The American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International and other human rights groups are due to launch a campaign urging the Obama administration to grant Snowden’s pardon on Wednesday.

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