Amazon appointed the head of its board of directors, National Security Agency chief Edward Snowden, to oversee the public surveillance scandal – and privacy leakers immediately pushed the move.
General Keith Alexander, who was NSA director from 2003 to 2014 – and then founded his own cybersecurity firm Ironnet Security – was named to the online retailer’s board on Wednesday and will be on its audit committee, Business Insider reported.
Within hours of the announcement, Snowden took to Twitter.
“It turns out that ‘Hey Alexa’ is short for ‘Hey Keith Alexander’,” he tweeted, adding: “Yes, the legitimate case Alexander is personally responsible for is that Keith Alexander created the global scandal.” “
Alexander was in talks in 2013 when Snowden, a former CIA contractor, leaked thousands of NSA documents and blew a whistle on the agency’s public surveillance program. In an interview, Alexander accused Snowden of being a Russian operative.
But a federal court this month ruled that explicit surveillance of Snowden’s leaked citizens’ phone records was illegal and possibly constitutional. It also rejected the NSA’s case that surveillance was needed to prevent terrorist attacks, finding that it did not even help prevent a single attack.
Edin Omanovich, director of advocacy for Privacy International, said the decision to hire Alexander was taken “deeply” by the BBC, the BBC reported.
“Every day, big technology companies like Amazon make huge ethical decisions that affect people’s lives without any democratic accountability,” he told the newspaper.
“Obviously it’s worrying that at the center of it now will be someone who spent years trying to protect secret data grabs that were later proven illegal. We don’t need another NSA – we even have privacy policies. “
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