In a recent in-depth interview with the Guardian, former security contractor Edward Snowden has stated that documents completely irrelevant to the NSA’s work — like nude photos, discovered during routine surveillance — were regularly passed around the office.
Though we’ve become somewhat jaded to ongoing revelations of the NSA’s abuses of power and personal violations, Snowden’s new comments are pretty upsetting. He described what would happen when NSA employees would accidentally come across a provocative photo:
What do they do? They turn around in their chair and they show their coworker. Sooner or later, this person’s whole life has been seen by all these people. It’s never reported. Nobody ever knows about it because the auditing of these systems is incredibly weak.
Snowden noted that the incidents would vary in frequency depending on who you happened to work with. But don’t worry, Snowden says we’re not living in 1984. “We should not bind ourselves to the limits of [George Orwell’s] imagination. Times have shown that the world is much more unpredictable and dangerous than that.” Oh, great. (Video still: The Guardian)