Edward Snowden eviscerates OpenAI’s decision to put a former NSA director on its board: ‘This is a willful, calculated betrayal of the rights of every person on earth’


Snowden has been in exile in Russia since 2013, when he leaked NSA documents. — Fortune/The New York Times

OpenAI just appointed a former director of the National Security Agency (NSA) to its board of directors, and Edward Snowden is not happy.

“Do not ever trust OpenAI or its products,” the NSA employee turned whistleblower wrote on X Friday morning, after the company announced retired US Army Gen. Paul Nakasone’s appointment to the board’s new safety and security committee. “There’s only one reason for appointing (an NSA director) to your board. This is a willful, calculated betrayal of the rights of every person on earth.”

Snowden finished off his tweet ominously: “You have been warned.”

This is not the first time Snowden has criticised OpenAI. Last April, during the annual crypto conference Consensus, he called out the ChatGPT maker for not being transparent about the data on which it trains its models.

“It’s a poor joke, right? They refused to provide public access to their training data, their models, the weights and so on – but they’re a leader in the space. They’re being rewarded. They’re being rewarded for antisocial behaviour,” Snowden said, speaking virtually from Moscow.

Snowden also expressed the hope that OpenAI and other tech companies would start spying “for the public” rather than on the public. However, the blistering tweet appears to be a sign that faith has departed.

Nakasone will work to strengthen OpenAI’s capability to respond to “increasingly sophisticated” cybersecurity threats, the company said in its announcement. OpenAI’s new safety group replaces an earlier safety team that was disbanded after several of its leaders quit.

Following last year’s period of upheaval at the San Francisco-based AI firm – during which its CEO, Sam Altman, was fired then reappointed days later – Nakasone is one of several new members who have joined the board of directors as part of the leadership reset. He retired from the NSA in February, after serving as the agency’s director and as head of US Cyber Command. – Fortune.com/The New York Times

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