Steve Wozniak called whistleblower Edward Snowden a "hero," lauding the former National Security Agency contractor for exposing the government's classified Internet surveillance program.
“[Snowden's] a hero to my beliefs about how the Constitution should work," the Apple co-founder told The Daily Beast's Lloyd Grove this week. "[He's] a hero because this came from his heart. And I really believe he was giving up his whole life because he just felt so deeply about honesty, about spying on Americans, and he wanted to tell us.”
The Woz went on to say that he's troubled by the idea that the technology he has helped develop is now being utilized to encroach on the privacy of ordinary citizens. "I don’t think the NSA has done one thing valuable for us, in this whole PRISM regard, that couldn’t have been done by following the Constitution and doing it the old way," he said, referring to the NSA program by its code name.
Wozniak hasn't been shy about expressing his disappointment with the NSA and its surveillance programs. Just last week, he compared the agency with Cold War-era Russia, telling Spanish tech news site FayerWayer that the U.S. is getting "more and more" Big Brother-like.
"When I was brought up, we were told that Communist Russia was the ones that were going to kill us and bomb our country and all this," he said. "And Communist Russia was so bad because they followed their people, they snooped on them, they arrested them, they put them in secret prisons, they disappeared them. These kinds of things were part of Russia. We're getting more and more like that."
In an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan last week, the computer whiz added:
I actually feel a little guilty about [my role in developing technology that has allowed for widespread surveillance] but not totally. We created the computers to free the people up, give them instant communication anywhere in the world; any thought you had, you could share freely. That it was going to overcome a lot of the government restrictions.
We didn't realize that in the digital world there were a lot of ways to use the digital technology to control us, to snoop on us, to make things possible that weren't.
According to some reports, late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs may have been as resistant to PRISM as Wozniak is now. “Steve Jobs would’ve rather died than give into that," a former co-worker of Jobs' told Cult of Mac earlier this month.
Edward Snowden has been on the run since he leaked documents describing U.S. surveillance and intelligence programs to the press earlier this month. At press time, he was believed to be hiding out in Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport. He may soon seek asylum in Ecuador, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.