The best way to understand PRISM, because there’s been a little bit of controversy, is to first talk about what PRISM isn’t. Much of the debate in the U.S. has been about metadata. They’ve said it’s just metadata, it’s just metadata, and they’re talking about a specific legal authority called Section 215 of the Patriot Act. That allows sort of a warrantless wiretapping, mass surveillance of the entire country’s phone records, things like that – who you’re talking to, when you’re talking to them, where you traveled. These are all metadata events. PRISM is about content. It’s a program through which the government could compel corporate America, it could deputize corporate America to do its dirty work for the NSA. And even though some of these companies did resist, even though some of them – I believe Yahoo was one of them — challenged them in court, they all lost, because it was never tried by an open court. They were only tried by a secret court. And something that we’ve seen, something about the PRISM program that’s very concerning to me is, there’s been a talking point in the U.S. government where they’ve said 15 federal judges have reviewed these programs and found them to be lawful, but what they don’t tell you is those are secret judges in a secret court based on secret interpretations of law that’s considered 34,000 warrant requests over 33 years, and in 33 years only rejected 11 government requests. These aren’t the people that we want deciding what the role of corporate America in a free and open Internet should be.

It is. I think it’s very true. This is not a left or right issue. Our basic freedoms, and when I say our, I don’t just mean Americans, I mean people around the world, it’s not a partisan issue. These are things that all people believe, and it’s up to all of us to protect them, and to people who have seen and enjoyed a free and open Internet, it’s up to us to preserve that liberty for the next generation to enjoy, and if we don’t change things, if we don’t stand up to make the changes we need to do to keep the Internet safe, not just for us but for everyone, we’re going to lose that, and that would be a tremendous loss, not just for us, but for the world.

https://www.ted.com/talks/edward_snowden_here_s_how_we_take_back_the_internet