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Snowden to Deliver 'Alternative Christmas Message' in UK

  • VOA News

Edward Snowden is seen delivering his "Alternative Christmas Message" on Britain's Channel 4. (Channel 4)

Edward Snowden is seen delivering his "Alternative Christmas Message" on Britain's Channel 4. (Channel 4)

Edward Snowden will deliver the “Alternative Christmas Message” on the Britain's Channel 4, according to the station.

Channel 4 says Snowden will lay “out his vision for why privacy matters and why he believes mass indiscriminate surveillance by governments of their people is wrong.”

In the interview, Snowden recalls George Orwell’s warning about government misuse of technology to collect information on citizens.

“TVs that watch us are nothing compared to what we have available today,” he said. “We have sensors in our pockets that track us everywhere we go. Think about what this means for the privacy of the average person.”

Snowden added that “A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all.”

Snowden also added that there is growing awareness over the bulk collection of data by the U.S. government and that it has led to a discussion about privacy.

“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,” he said. “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.”

Channel 4 said that the revelations provided by Snowden about massive surveillance programs was “one of the most significant news events of the year.”

“The information which he has placed in the public domain raises serious questions for democratic society,” said the station’s Head of News and Current Affairs Dorothy Byrne in a statement. “This is an opportunity for our viewers to hear from him directly and judge for themselves what he has to say.”

Snowden faces charges in the U.S. for unauthorized disclosure of classified information. He fled to Hong Kong last May and then was granted temporary asylum in Russia.

The Channel 4 Alternative Christmas Message has been airing since 1993 as a contrast to the Queen’s annual message to the nation. Others who’ve given the message include the former President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Afghan war veteran Major Andrew Stockton, Adam Hills, Katie Piper, Quentin Crisp, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Doreen and Neville Lawrence, The Simpsons, and 9/11 survivor Genelle Guzman.

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