Edward Snowden's 2013 Christmas Message is What 2016 Needs to Hear

By James O Malley on at

Today the Queen has delivered her traditional Christmas message, but here at Giz UK, we think that the message delivered by Edward Snowden three years ago, in 2013, is perhaps more relevant to today.

As someone who was then a fresh-faced new resident of Moscow, Snowden used the opportunity to warn against what it means for privacy is the bulk surveillance of our digital communications by governments is allowed. As now know from our vantage in 2016... sadly not much has changed. Given the recent passage of the Investigatory Powers Act here in the UK, which comes into force on the 30th December, this 2013 message perhaps couldn't be more timely.

He said:

"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." He added: "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."

He delivered the message for Channel 4, who as per tradition booked someone suitably different to deliver an "alternative Christmas message" to the Queen - this year they went for Brendon Cox, husband of the murdered MP Jo Cox. Other previous names to deliver the message include Doreen Lawrence, former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Marge Simpson.