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Tags: cellphone | fema | emergency | broadcast system

Snowden Claims Mass Spying Via 'Presidential Alert' System

U.S. fugitive Edward Snowden is broadcast on a TV in making a case for a presidential pardon
Edward Snowden (Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 04 October 2018 07:38 PM EDT

Former National Security Agency secrets leaker Edward Snowden is sounding the alarm on a new "presidential alert" test that went to millions on Wednesday, warning: "All of our lives range at the end of a wire."

In a pair of tweets, Snowden raised questions about uses of the digital system for possible mass spying.

"All our lives dangle at the end of a wire," he tweeted. "Ask yourself: who controls it? How else might it be used?"

"The same centralized infrastructure that lets them send something to everyone enables them to read anything from anyone," he added in a second tweet.

Snowden linked to a 2016 article on "Upstream," a classified NSA surveillance program exposed by documents he leaked in 2013.

The new presidential alert system is like those that give a heads-up about missing children, or severe weather — but differ in that cellphone users cannot opt out.

Still, regulators pushed back at Snowden's concerns, The Washington Times reported.

"There is no database of cellphone numbers," a Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesman told the news outlet. "[Wireless Emergency Alerts system] messages are broadcasted to phones that have a signal from a cell phone tower," the spokesman said.

A NSA spokesperson said it is subject to extensive oversight.

"NSA conducts its foreign signals intelligence mission under the legal authorities established by the Constitution and Congress and is bound by both policy and law to protect U.S. persons' privacy and civil liberties," a media relations officer told the news outlet.

Snowden has been living in asylum in Russia since he leaked classified NSA documents five years ago.

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The new "presidential alert" test that went to millions Wednesday is a pathway to mass spying, whistleblowing fugitive Edward Snowden warned via Twitter.
cellphone, fema, emergency, broadcast system
Thursday, 04 October 2018 07:38 PM
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