NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has delivered an "alternative Christmas message" on the UK's Channel 4 in which he says that "a child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all," and that the kinds of surveillance outlined in Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four "are nothing compared to what we have available today."
Channel 4 has broadcast an annual alternative to the Queen's Christmas Day address to the UK since 1993.
Snowden gives this year's address in a video made for Channel 4 by filmmaker and journalist Laura Poitras's Praxis Films.
In the pre-recorded address to be aired on Christmas Day, Snowden says, "Recently, we learned that our governments, working in concert, have created a system of worldwide, mass surveillance, watching everything we do."
The kinds of surveillance Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four warned of "are nothing compared to what we have available today," and a child born today will "never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves, an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought."
The lack of privacy matters because it "is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be."
"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," Snowden said.
In an interview published by the Washington Post on Christmas Eve, Snowden said, "For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished. I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself."
"All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed," the whistleblower told the Post. "That is a milestone we left a long time ago. "
You can watch the full video address on Channel 4 here.
[This post has been updated.]