National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden says tech companies in the United States have given the government full access to all the nation's online communications.
"Companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, they all get together with the NSA and provide the NSA direct access to the back ends of all of the systems that you use to communicate, to store data, to put things in the cloud and even, just to send birthday wishes and keep a record of your life," Snowden said.
"They give the NSA direct access, that they don't need to oversee, so they can't be held liable for it," he claimed in the latest excerpts from his interview with reporters Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitra of The Guardian newspaper.
The NSA has claimed it only targets foreign traffic. But Snowden says that's not true.
"The NSA doesn't limit itself to foreign intelligence, it collects all communications that transit the United States," he said. "There are literally no ingress or egress points anywhere in the continental United States, were communication to enter or exit without being monitored, collected or analysed."
Snowden is hiding from the U.S. government, and still believed to be stranded in a Moscow airport. He's trying to reach any country that has granted him asylum.
Meanwhile, a congressional oversight board is holding a hearing today to investigate the NSA's secret surveillance.