Edward Snowden – the former NSA contractor who leaked documents of mass surveillance by intelligence agencies – has been chosen to present this year’s ‘Alternative Christmas Message’ on Channel 4 in the UK.
Snowden uses the Alternative Christmas Message – which is now available online (you will need to login to watch it) – to talk about the erosion of privacy, thanks to the mass surveillance by governments. Citing George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Snowden say that the technology used in the novel are “nothing compared to what we have today”.
“Think about what this 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,” Snowden says.
“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 Alternative Christmas Message is seen as a response to the Queen’s Christmas Message. Previous presenters include Australian comedian Adam Hills (2012), Marge Simpson (2004) from The Simpsons, and the former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2008).