Edward Snowden explains to the US public exactly how the government can get hold of their private naked images

The former NSA contractor was speaking to John Oliver on Last Week Tonight

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The Independent Online

Whistleblower Edward Snowden is famed for leaking classified documents while he worked as an NSA contractor in 2013.

The files he exposed revealed mass U.S. government surveillance programs, and meant he had to flee the country to seek refuge in Russia to avoid being prosecuted.

Yet many of the American public don’t understand what ‘bulk government surveillance’ actually means – or how it could affect them in their daily lives.

So Last Week Tonight host John Oliver asked his special guest, Snowden, to explain it to them using a metaphor they’d all understand – the concept that intelligence officers could be intercepting private naked images taken on their phones. Or “dick pics”, as they're more widely known.

“The good news is that there's no program named the 'dick pic' program. The bad news... they are still collecting everybody's information, including your dick pics,” Snowden said.

“If you have your email somewhere like Gmail hosted on a server overseas or transferred overseas or anytime it crosses outside the borders of the United States, your junk ends up in the database.”

He went on to discuss the PRISM program, which is how the government “pull your junk out of Google, without Google's involvement”. It also collects data from Facebook, Apple and other big companies.


However, Snowden was adamant that Americans shouldn’t stop sharing private information “because of a government agency somewhere that’s doing the wrong thing”. “If you sacrifice your values because you're afraid, you don't care about those values very much.”