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Dublin: 8°C Tuesday 11 May 2021

Edward Snowden to deliver Channel 4's Alternative Christmas Message

It’s now 20 years since the British broadcaster began airing its alternative to the Queen’s annual televised address.

Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden
Image: Channel 4 via Twitter

BRITISH BROADCASTER CHANNEL 4 has confirmed that the NSA surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden will deliver its Alternative Christmas Message tomorrow afternoon.

The computer analyst exposed the US National Security Agency’s vast surveillance and phone and internet data collection methods six months ago.

He gained worldwide notoriety before seeking asylum in Russia having left the US and based himself in Hong Kong prior to the story breaking.

Snowden cooperated extensively with the journalist Glenn Greenwald and the Guardian newspaper which broke the story. He also gave details of the NSA programme to the Washington Post which has published an extensive interview with him today.

In what will be his first TV interview since arriving in Moscow, Channel 4 says that Snowden lays out a vision for why privacy matters and why indiscriminate surveillance is wrong.

“Great Britain’s George Orwell warned us of the danger of this kind of information. The types of collection in the book – microphones and video cameras, TVs that watch us are nothing compared to what we have available today,” he says.

“We have sensors in our pockets that track us everywhere we go. 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, unanalysed thought.

“And that’s a problem because privacy matters, privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be.”

The Channel 4 Christmas message has been a tradition for 20 years on the independent broadcaster as an alternative to the Queen’s annual festive message which is broadcast on the BBC.

Those who have previously delivered the message include Iranian president 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.

The Alternative Christmas Message will broadcast on Channel 4 at 4.15pm on Christmas Day.

Read: Edward Snowden declares “mission accomplished” on leaks

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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