NSA whistleblower records message from Russia, filmed by Laura Poitras, warning of the dangers of a loss of privacy
Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who prompted a worldwide debate when he leaked a cache of top secret documents about US and UK surveillance, has recorded a Christmas Day television message in which he explains his actions.
The short film was recorded for Channel 4, which has 20-year history of providing unusual but relevant figures as an alternative to the Queen’s Christmas message shown by other UK broadcasters. It will be Snowden’s first television appearance since arriving in Moscow
The address, to be broadcast at 4.15pm on Christmas Day, was filmed in Russia – where Snowden is living after being granted temporary asylum – by Laura Poitras, a film-maker who has closely collaborated with him on the NSA stories.
In excerpts from the address released by Channel 4, Snowden says George Orwell “warned us of the danger of this kind of information” in his dystopian novel, 1984.
Snowden says: “The types of collection in the book – microphones and video cameras, TVs that watch us – are nothing compared to what we have available today. We have sensors in our pockets that track us everywhere we go. Think about what this means for the privacy of the average person.
“A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They’ll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves an unrecorded, unanalysed thought. And that’s a problem because privacy matters; privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be.”