Former National Security Agency contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden will address British citizens in an “alternative Christmas message” to be aired on Channel 4 News.
The message was produced by journalist and documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras. It is a call to consider the world we want to live in and whether we are willing to accept a future where our children grow up with absolutely no privacy, subject to mass surveillance similar or even more pervasive than what Snowden revealed to us all this year.
Here’s his message:
Hi, and merry Christmas. I’m honored to have a chance to speak to you and your family this year.
Recently, we learned that our governments, working in concert, have created a system of worldwide mass surveillance watching everything we do.
Great Britain’s George Orwell warned us of the danger of this kind of information. The types of collection in the book: microphones, video cameras, TVs that watch us — are nothing compared to what we have today. We have sensors in our pockets that track us everywhere we go.
Think about what that 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 unanalyzed 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.
The conversation occurring today will determine the amount of trust we can place both in the technology that surrounds us and the government that regulates it. Together, we can find a better balance, end mass surveillance and remind the government if it really wants to know how we feel asking is always cheaper than spying.
For everyone out there listening, thank you and merry Christmas.