Snowden: 'A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy'


Snowden: 'A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy'

Clare McDonald

Future generations will not have any personal privacy, said whistleblower Edward Snowden during the Channel 4 Alternative Christmas Message.

Famous for leaking several classified National Security Agency (NSA) documents, Snowden told viewers on Christmas Day that governments have “created a system of worldwide mass surveillance, watching everything we do”.


NSA documents leaked by Snowden revealed practices such as sending spies into online games to recruit informants and tracking as many as five billion phone records per day.

In the video, Snowden warned that the average person’s privacy is compromised every day. 

"We have sensors in our pockets that track us everywhere we go,” he said. “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.”

Snowden also alluded to loss of privacy for the next generation being worse than George Orwell’s depiction of the future in his novel 1984.

“George Orwell warned us of the danger of this kind of information. The types of [information] collection in the book – microphones and video cameras, TVs that watch us – are nothing compared to what we have available today,” he said.

The video is thought to have been recorded in Moscow, where Snowden has been granted temporary asylum.

Snowden went on to urge the public to claim back their privacy: “Together we can find a better balance, end mass surveillance and remind the government that if it really wants to know how we feel, asking is always cheaper than spying.”

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