Russian President Vladimir Putin has held his annual televised marathon question and answer session, during which America’s most famous exile William Snowden asked him a question.
‘‘I’d like to ask you: does Russia intercept, store or analyse in any way the communications of millions of individuals, and do you believe that simply increasing the effectiveness of intelligence or law enforcement investigations can justify placing societies, rather than subjects, under surveillance?” asked Snowden.
“Mr.Snowden, you are a former agent. Previously I had connection to an intelligence service as well. So we shall speak professional language.
Of course, we have in mind that modern means of communication can be used by criminal elements and terrorists for their criminal activity. Special services using modern means must fight against such criminal groups. Of course, we also doing it, but it is not on a mass scale. I hope that we shall never allow it,” Putin replied.
The former KGB lieutenant-colonel, who spent 16 years spying before entering politics, also said during the programme he did not want to be president for life.