Former US National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden has delivered a damning verdict on Australia’s new data retention laws, saying they are “radical” and “dangerous,” telling Australians “regardless of whether or not you’re doing anything wrong, you are being watched.”

The former NSA contractor made the comments on Friday during Melbourne’s Progress 2015 conference, appearing via video link from Moscow. Snowden has been holed up in the Russian capital since 2013 when he released a huge cache of classified NSA documents to the Guardian, documenting what he alleged amounted to state-sanctioned spying on US citizens.

Snowden has now taken his crusade against Government surveillance to Australia, saying the local example is similar to data retention programs in the UK and part of a much larger global trend towards mass surveillance. Snowden argued that both UK and Australian Governments were enacting a form of “pre-criminal investigation”.

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