Snowden to Wish World a Spy-Free Christmas in TV Broadcast

Tuesday, 24 Dec 2013 01:59 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Edward Snowden is all ready to wish the world a merry, surveillance-free Christmas.

The National Security Agency contractor-turned-whistleblower has prepared a Christmas day television message, which will air on Britain's Channel 4, reports The Guardian.

The station has a 20-year history of airing news-making figures giving holiday greetings as an alternative to the queen's traditional Christmas day message.

Snowden recorded his short message in Russia, where he was granted temporary asylum after leaking NSA documents concerning surveillance of people's telephone calls and Internet use in the United States and around the world.

In excerpts from his address, Snowden says the kinds of information author George Orwell meant when writing about "Big Brother" in the book "1984" is all around everybody in the modern world.

"The types of collection in the book — microphones and video cameras, TVs that watch us — are nothing compared to what we have available today," Snowden says. "We have sensors in our pockets that track us everywhere we go. Think about what this means for the privacy of the average person."

Further, Snowden says, "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 NSA leaker, who faces potential prosecution if he returns to the United States,  also speaks during the address about the recent review of the NSA's actions and the recommendations that it not be allowed to collect and keep phone records in bulk.

"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," Snowden says. "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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