Actor and author Stephen Fry has blasted British government officials for failing to take action over the mass surveillance programme detailed by U.S. 'whistleblower' Edward Snowden.
The former Central Intelligence Agency (Cia) employee hit headlines after leaking confidential information on top secret operations undertaken by U.S. and U.K. government chiefs on their own citizens, and he has since been charged with committing espionage against America.
Snowden is currently seeking asylum in Russia, but his revelations were at the centre of debate on Saturday (07Jun14) at a London privacy summit, organised by activists at the Don't Spy on Us Campaign and held to mark the one-year anniversary of the expose.
In a pre-recorded video message, Fry urged attendees to demand action from politicians in an effort to pressurise the U.K.'s coalition government to launch an inquiry into the controversial surveillance operations.
He said, "The idea of having your letters read by somebody, your telegrams, your faxes, your postcards intercepted, was always considered one of the meanest, most beastly things a human being could do, and for a government to do, without good cause. Using the fear of terrorism that we all have, the fear of the unknown that we all share, the fear of enemies that hate us, is a duplicitous and deeply wrong means of excusing something as base as spying on the citizens of your own country."
He continued, "It's enough that corporations know so much about us and our spending habits, our eating habits, our sexual preferences, everything else.
"But that a government, something that we elect, something that should be looking out for our best interests, should presume, without asking, to take information that we swap, we hope privately, between ourselves is frankly disgraceful."