The Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has backed NSA whistleblowerEdward Snowden and admitted he feels "a little bit guilty" that new technologies had introduced new ways for governments to monitor people.
"I felt about Edward Snowden the same way I felt about Daniel Ellsberg, who changed my life, who taught me a lot," he said.
Speaking to Piers Morgan on CNN he said he was not the kind of person to "just take sides in the world – 'I'm always against anything government, any three letter agency,' or 'I'm for them'."
But he added: "Read the facts: it's government of, by and for the people. We own the government; we are the ones who pay for it and then we discover something that our money is being used for – that just can't be, that level of crime."
When Morgan suggested the government would not be able to keep such a close eye on citizens without the work of innovators like him, Wozniak acknowledged: "I actually feel a little guilty about that – but not totally. We created the computers to free the people up, give them instant communication anywhere in the world; any thought you had, you could share freely. That it was going to overcome a lot of the government restrictions.
"We didn't realise that in the digital world there were a lot of ways to use the digital technology to control us, to snoop on us, to make things possible that weren't. In the old days of mailing letters, you licked it, and when you got an envelope that was still sealed, nobody had seen it; you had private communication. Now they say, because it's email, it cannot be private; anyone can listen."
Asked about US surveillance programmes in an earlier interview with a Spanish technology news site, FayerWayer, Wozniak said: "All these things about the constitution, that made us so good as people – they are kind of nothing.
"They are all dissolved with the Patriot Act. There are all these laws that just say 'we can secretly call anything terrorism and do anything we want, without the rights of courts to get in and say you are doing wrong things'. There's not even a free open court any more. Read the constitution. I don't know how this stuff happened. It's so clear what the constitution says."
He said he had been brought up to believe that "communist Russia was so bad because they followed their people, they snooped on them, they arrested them, they put them in secret prisons, they disappeared them – these kinds of things were part of Russia. We are getting more and more like that."