Edward Snowden pushes for a global privacy treaty, saying that more countries are strengthening their spying powers. He and his associates want protection for whistle-blowers and from invasive surveillance.

The American whistle-blower said that mass spying is a problem on an international scale and insists that it requires a global response to resolve.

"We have to have a discussion, we have to come forward with proposals to go 'how do we assert what our rights are, traditionally and digitally and to ensure that we can not just enjoy them, but we can protect them,'" said Snowden via a video conference at a Manhattan forum.

In 2013, Snowden became known worldwide when he leaked information about the National Security Agency's overreaching surveillance programs. Despite the United States' demands to have Snowden return and face the consequences of his actions, Russia has granted the whistle-blower asylum.

Ever since Snowden revealed the NSA's collection of phone metadata to the world, it has been the subject of controversy, which has led to a law which now requires the U.S. agency to request the records from telephone companies, putting a halt to the secretive bulk data collection.

Just before the U.N. leaders' annual gathering, Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, David Miranda and Avaaz, a global advocacy group, started the campaign, calling it Snowden Treaty. A group of legal professionals on Internet freedom and surveillance drafted a possible treaty,and national representatives were said to be interested, but there was no mention about which nations they represent.

Snowden is aware that the campaign for such a treaty will probably take several years, but he is determined to see it through.

In December 2014, the United Nations General Assembly raised concerns about digital spying, expressing that online data interception and collection and arbitrary mass surveillance violate privacy rights. The General Assembly considered such acts as "highly intrusive" and, thus, approved of a non-binding resolution.

Also, in July 2015, the U.N. Human Rights Council employed its first digital privacy investigator, Professor Joseph Cannataci of the University of Malta.

Photo: Don Hankins | Flickr

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