Spy programs still hotly debated one year after Snowden

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One year after America learned of Edward Snowden, the spying programs he revealed are still a topic of fierce debate. (KGO)

One year ago Thursday, America learned of Edward Snowden -- the former NSA contractor who revealed secret documents showing the NSA was spying on Americans. A year later, those spying programs are still in place and a topic of fierce debate.

A year ago, Snowden was a nobody, just a contractor who did computer work for the government. But then, he said this: "Even if you're not doing anything wrong, you're being watched or recorded...I sitting at my desk certainly had the authority to wiretap anyone, from your or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president if I had a personal email."

Two days later, as supporting evidence poured into the spotlight, President Barack Obama insisted they were only collecting phone numbers.

"Nobody is listening to your telephone calls; that's not what this program's about," he said.

But since then, the government's been forced to acknowledge a massive surveillance program that many call unconstitutional.

On the one year anniversary of Snowden's first appearance, protesters gathered at Sen. Dianne Feinstein's office. Long seen as a defender of the NSA, Feinstein, who chairs the Senate intelligence committee, is now their enemy No. 1.

"It's been a year now, these revelations are out there, the cat's out of the bag, we want to see real reform and it's not happening," Bill of Rights Defense Committee spokesperson Matthew Kellegrew said.

Another protest happened on the anniversary -- an effort called Reset the Net, supported by the likes of Google and Facebook, offered tips for people to secure their computers from spying.

Feinstein did not address the protesters, but she did address the Senate intelligence committee, to point out the so-called Freedom Act she supports would end the collection of telephone metadata, and limit, though not eliminate, the bulk storage of data from the Internet.
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