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Edward Snowden appears on Putin phone-in

Former CIA operative Edward Snowden appeared on Russian television today to ask Vladimir Putin whether his government is engaged in the sort of mass surveillance he claims the US government is involved in.

Mr Putin tells Snowden, who appears via video link, that there is no "indiscriminate" mass surveillance in Russia and that "in accordance with the law, there cannot be".

Read: US government 'spied on human rights charities'

Snowden: Pulitzer Prize award a 'vindication'

Edward Snowden said the work of the reporters had created a "more accountable democracy" Credit: REUTERS/Glenn Greenwald/Laura Poitras/Courtesy of The Guardian

Edward Snowden has issued a statement after the Guardian and Washington Post were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for public service in honour of their coverage of the NSA revelations.

"Today's decision is a vindication for everyone who believes that the public has a role in government," the whistleblower said.

"We owe it to the efforts of the brave reporters and their colleagues who kept working in the face of extraordinary intimidation," he added.

"This decision reminds us that what no individual conscience can change, a free press can. My efforts would have been meaningless without the dedication, passion, and skill of these newspapers, and they have my gratitude and respect for their extraordinary service to our society.

"Their work has given us a better future and a more accountable democracy," Mr Snowden said.

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Guardian and Washington Post share Pulitzer Prize

Glenn Greenwald, the former Guardian journalist who broke the NSA revelations.
Glenn Greenwald, the former Guardian journalist who broke the NSA revelations. Credit: Reuters

The Guardian US and the Washington Post have shared the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in honour of their revelations of secret surveillance by the National Security Agency.

The award recognised journalists Glenn Greenwald, Barton Gellman, Laura Poitras and Ewan MacAskill for their reporting on the information leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The Boston Globe also won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting for their coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing.

US government 'spied on human rights charities'

Edward Snowden speaking to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. Credit: Reuters

Whistleblower Edward Snowden has said that the US National Security Agency deliberately listened in on the activities and staff of prominent human rights organisations.

Addressing members of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg via video link from Moscow, Snowden said that the NSA had deliberately monitored bodies like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

He told MEPs: "The NSA has targeted leaders and staff members of these sorts of organisations, including domestically within the borders of the United States." Snowden did not reveal which groups the NSA had bugged.

The Council of Europe invited the White House to give evidence but it declined.

Labour seeks cyber-crime crackdown

Labour wants new powers for police and security services to crackdown on cyber-crimes such as child pornography and terrorism, but only with extra checks on how crime agencies are using sensitive data, the shadow home secretary is set to say.

Technological developments have sparked a wave of new types of crime and a 30% hike in recorded online fraud is just the "tip of the iceberg", Yvette Cooper will warn.

A person typing on a computer keyboard.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper is set to make a speech later today. Credit: Press Association

But fears about abuse of information in the wake of leaks by ex-US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, which revealed widespread spying by Government listening post GCHQ, means new safeguards are needed to protect privacy.

Much stricter controls over access to private data must be introduced to give the public confidence amid fears about the way information can currently be accessed and used, she is expected to say.

Edward Snowden elected rector of Glasgow University

Whistleblower Edward Snowden has been elected as rector of Glasgow University following a student vote.

Students at Glasgow University have elected Edward Snowden to the position of rector. Credit: PA

The role of the Rector is to represent students to the senior management of the University and raise issues which concern them.

US intelligence leaker Snowden is currently in Russia after being granted a year's asylum.

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GCHQ: 'We do not comment on intelligence matters'

Responding to reports that UK and US intelligence agencies have been developing capabilities to take advantage of smartphone applications to gather users' private information, a spokesman for British intelligence agency GCHQ told the Guardian:

It is a longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters.

Furthermore, all of GCHQ's work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight, including from the Secretary of State, the Interception and Intelligence Services Commissioners and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee. All our operational processes rigorously support this position.

– GCHQ spokesman

Read: British spies 'able to snoop on YouTube and Facebook'

US 'only interested in collecting data on possible threats'

White House spokesman Jay Carney said US surveillance agencies were only interested in collecting data on people considered a threat to the United States.

Mr Carney told a regular White House news conference:

To the extent data is collected by the NSA [National Security Agency] through whatever means, we are not interested in the communications of people who are not valid foreign intelligence targets, and we are not after the information of ordinary Americans.

Read: British spies 'able to snoop on YouTube and Facebook'

GCHQ 'would not confirm or deny programme exists'

British intelligence agency GCHQ "would not confirm of deny the existence of the Squeaky Dolphin" monitoring programme, according to NBC News.

A spokesperson for the agency said GCHQ's work was "carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework”.

File photograph of British intelligence agency GCHQ.
File photograph of British intelligence agency GCHQ. Credit: Press Association

This "ensure[s] that our activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight, including from the Secretary of State, the Interception and Intelligence Services Commissioners and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee", the spokesperson added.

Read: British spies 'able to snoop on YouTube and Facebook

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