Edward Snowden is currently holed up in Russia, but the Guardian recently paid him a visit, and today published an interview today in which the former government contractor discussed numerous privacy violations, including the "routine enough" practice of intercepting nude photos shared privately through email and other means. According to Snowden, NSA employees come across nude photos on a regular basis, but rather than labeling such content as irrelevant, they often pass it along to colleagues. "They turn around in their chair and they show their co-worker. And their co-worker says: 'Oh hey, that's great. Send that to Bill down the way.' And then Bill sends it to George, George sends it to Tom. And sooner or later this person's whole life has been seen by all of these other people."
Snowden reports that violations are often overlooked, with management unaware of specific instances due to the weak auditing in place with individual employee computers. In fact, he states that access to such content is seen as a "fringe benefit" of working in a surveillance position. You'll likely disagree. "The fact that your private images, records of your private lives, records of your intimate moments have been taken from your private communications stream, from the intended recipient and given to the government without any specific authorization, without any specific need, is itself a violation of your rights." You can see more in this excerpt of Snowden's Guardian interview. The unabridged version is due to appear tomorrow.
[Photo credit: AP/Pavel Golovkin]