Edward Snowden recently revealed that NSA workers share racy photos with each other for fun.

Snowden, the famous NSA whistleblower currently residing in Russia after receiving asylum, spoke to The Guardian about NSA surveillance, specifically about the difference between privacy and security.

NSA Analysts Reportedly Pass Around Racy Photos

During the interview, Snowden revealed that the average NSA analyst charged with looking through all the ordinary surveillance information – e-mails, phone calls and communications between average citizens – are young men, aged 18-22 years old. Every now and again, one will stumble upon a particularly intimate and racy piece of information, and will quickly circulate it throughout the office.

“They stumble across something… completely unrelated to their work, for example, an intimate nude photo of someone in a sexually compromising situation but they’re extremely attractive. So, what do they do? They turn around in their chair and they show a 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. Anything goes, more or less,” Snowden said.

Snowden went on to say that though the workers may understand that what they are doing violates a person’s right to privacy, it’s too risky to speak out, especially for contracted workers who are not as protected under the law.

Edward Snowden Interview: Privacy

Furthermore, Snowden added that, while this behavior is, in itself, not completely legal, it’s not so much the specific act of passing a nude photo, taken without the subject’s knowledge, around the office that is a violation, but the act of obtaining that nude photo in the first place.

“The fact that your private images, records of your private lives, records of your intimate moments have been taken from your private communication 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. Why is that in the government database?” Snowden explained.

Snowden also cautioned that, as electronic storage becomes cheaper, the NSA’s electronic surveillance records are kept longer, meaning that the government organization could permanently store ordinary people’s personal conversations and online activities without cause.

“They’re the most deep and intense and intimate and damaging private moments of their lives, and we’re seizing [them] without any authorization, without any reason, records of all of their activities…and from this we can create a perfect, or nearly perfect, record of each individual’s activity, and those activities are increasingly becoming permanent records.”

Snowden urged readers to truly think about the difference between online communications and private journaling or other forms of writing that can only be obtained through the legal system.

“The question is, why are our private details that are transmitted online, why are our private details that are stored on our personal devices, any different [from] the details and private records of our lives that are stored in our private journals?”


More on Edward Snowden:

> Edward Snowden Speaks Directly To U.S. For First Time Following NSA Leaks At SXSW

> Julian Assange And Edward Snowden Participate In Virtual Interviews At SXSW

> Anna Chapman, Ex-Russian Spy, Walks Out Of NBC Interview When Asked About Proposal To Edward Snowden

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