Snowden: Dear Brazil, the NSA is watching you

In a letter to the people of Brazil, Edward Snowden offers to help uncover NSA surveillance on Brazilian citizens in exchange for permanent asylum.

Don Reisinger
Don Reisinger

Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

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Edward Snowden
Guardian/Screenshot by CNET

Edward Snowden has written an extensive open letter to the people of Brazil to discuss his findings and ultimately seek asylum.

In a broad letter published Tuesday by Brazil newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo, Snowden asks Brazil for the second time to grant him asylum. To make his case, for former NSA contractor said that his "act of conscience" prompted the US to make him "stateless."

"The price for my speech was my passport, but I would pay it again: I will not be the one to ignore criminality for the sake of political comfort," he wrote. "I would rather be without a state than without a voice."

Snowden has received asylum offers from several South American countries, including Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Venezuela. He has petitioned Brazil to grant him asylum previously, but has so far been unable to obtain it. His latest overture centers on a singular idea: attempt to show the ways the NSA is allegedly spying on Brazil's citizens.

Today, if you carry a cell phone in Sao Paolo, the NSA can and does keep track of your location: they do this 5 billion times a day to people around the world. When someone in Florianopolis visits a website, the NSA keeps a record of when it happened and what you did there. If a mother in Porto Alegre calls her son to wish him luck on his university exam, NSA can keep that call log for five years or more. They even keep track of who is having an affair or looking at pornography, in case they need to damage their target's reputation.

Will Snowden's efforts help? So far, Brazil hasn't had anything to say. But until then, click here to read Snowden's entire letter.