Snowden: No concept of privacy in future

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The surveillance practices in George Orwell’s book 1984 pale in comparison to reality, Edward Snowden said in a Christmas Day address.

The speech, less than two minutes long, was given on Great Britain’s Channel 4, which has long televised alternative addresses to Queen Elizabeth’s traditional Christmas address.

Snowden, whose leaks about National Security Agency surveillance programs have him wanted for espionage by the Obama administration, called on governments to end mass surveillance in the address.

“We have censors in our pockets that track us everywhere we go,” he said. “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, unanalyzed thought. And that's a problem because privacy matters.”

Snowden re-emerged this week with the address and an interview with The Washington Post, where he declared he had already won his fight with the U.S. government by shining light on its programs.

The former government contractor is living in Russia, where he has been given temporary asylum.

NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander has estimated Snowden leaked at least 200,000 highly classified government documents to journalists since June. One of Alexander’s deputies suggests Snowden stole as many as 1.7 million documents from the agency.

Some of Channel 4’s previous presenters include Rev. Jesse Jackson, former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the cartoon characters from “The Simpsons.”