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Snowden explained why he thought that story and the other subsequent leaks about the NSA and its partnership with the corporate sector had to be made public.
"They are getting everyone's calls, everyone's call records and everyone's internet traffic as well."
In reference to one surveillance system – Boundless Informant – that he said allowed the NSA to track data it was accumulating, he said: "The NSA lied about the existence of this tool to Congress and to specific congressmen in response to previous inquiries about their surveillance activities."
He was part of the internet generation that grew up on the understanding that it was free, he said. The partnership between the intelligence agencies and the corporate sector was a "dangerous collaboration", especially for an organisation like the the NSA that has demonstrated time and again "it works to shield itself from oversight".