Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor, delivered his 95-second Alternative Christmas Message for Channel 4 warning viewers of the global threat to privacy in the 21st century.
Before he opened his public address, Snowden thanked the Channel 4 by saying that it’s an honour for him to come and deliver the channel’s message.
Snowden then quoted George Orwell’s vision of the future in his dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, and compared it to mass surveillance in the 21st century. He said that the technology has advanced so far that microphones, and video cameras, TVs that watch us, and types of collection in the book, are nothing when we compare them to what we have today. “Think about what this means for the privacy of the average person,” he said.
“A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They will never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves – an unrecorded, unanalysed thought,” he continued.
He then argued that if we want to “determine who we are and who we want to be,” then for sure, privacy is important for us.
To finish his message, he called for an end to mass surveillance, and urged viewers to tell the government if it is interested to know how we feel, “asking is always cheaper than spying”.
Edward Snowden secured refugee status in Russia on August 1, having fled the US after revealing details about the controversial NSA PRISM surveillance programme.