In an interview with The Guardian, National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden said that the people tasked with digging through private digital communications data routinely stumble across nude photos and share them with friends.
You’ve got young enlisted guys, 18 to 22. They’ve suddenly thrust into a position of extraordinary responsibility, where they now have access to all of your private records. Now, in the course of their daily work, they stumble across something that is completely unrelated to their work in any sort of necessary sense. For example: an intimate nude photo of someone in a sexually compromising situation, but they’re extremely attractive. So what do they do? They turn around in their chair, and they show their coworker. And their coworker says, “Oh, hey, that’s great. Send that to Bill down the way. And then Bill sends it to George, George sends it to Tom, and sooner or later, this person’s whole life has been seen by all of these other people. It’s never reported. Nobody ever knows about it, because the auditing of these systems is incredibly weak.
The statement came during a conversation with Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger and reporter Ewen MacAskill in Moscow. The full interview is set to be released Friday.