We just noted that the UN has made it clear that mass surveillance and broad data retention likely violates international law
. Given that, perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise to hear that UN human rights commissioner Navi Pillay has said that Ed Snowden should not face a trial
, since he was revealing human rights violations:
"Those who disclose human rights violations should be protected: we need them," Pillay told a news conference.
"I see some of it here in the case of Snowden, because his revelations go to the core of what we are saying about the need for transparency, the need for consultation," she said. "We owe a great deal to him for revealing this kind of information."
While this is unlikely to lead the US to suddenly drop its Espionage Act charges against Snowden (when has the US ever cared about what the UN has to say?), it's yet another example in a growing list of people recognizing just how extreme and isolated the US government's kneejerk reaction was to the Snowden revelations. If the US government were actually willing to be self-critical, it might realize what a mistake it's doing in trying to string up the messenger. We should be examining the appropriateness of the surveillance state, not whether the person who revealed the details should spend the rest of his life in jail.