On 25 December 2013, Channel 4’s Alternative Christmas Message was delivered by Edward Snowden. Filmed by Laura Poitras, this video marks the first time Edward Snowden has spoken on camera since he reached Moscow.
Hi and Merry Christmas.
I am honoured to have the 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 about this kind of information. The types of collection in the book – microphones and video cameras, TVs that watch us – are nothing compared what we have available 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, unanalysed thought.
And that’s a problem because privacy matters. Privacy 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 that, 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.