Legislation ending the US government’s bulk collection of telephone data is “a historic victory for the rights of every citizen,” former intelligence analyst Edward Snowden said in a commentary.

In the opinion piece, published in several newspapers internationally including The New York Times, Snowden reflected on what he said was a profound shift in the public’s awareness of mass surveillance since his infamous leaks disclosing the extent to which the US government and some partners monitor electronic communications.

“Ending the mass surveillance of private phone calls under the Patriot Act is a historic victory for the rights of every citizen, but it is only the latest product of a change in global awareness,” he said, referring to this week’s ending of the bulk data collection program under the USA Patriot Act.

“Since 2013, institutions across Europe have ruled similar laws and operations illegal and imposed new restrictions on future activities. The United Nations declared mass surveillance an unambiguous violation of human rights,” he added.

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