It is Christmas time, a time when official videos and messages, from all the official VIPs, from all around the world, appears all over the internet. This year, one of them was particularly interesting: Edward Snowden’s Alternative Christmas Message. We all know who Edward Snowden is as he had a huge impact on the way society and companies understand the notion of privacy.
In his message, Edward Snowden, who recorded this video in Russia where he lives under temporary asylum, denounces the “world wide mass surveillance” established by government that are “watching everything we do”. He reinforces the seriousness of the current situation and the need for change.
“Think about what this means for privacy of the average person? A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They will never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves, and un-recorded, un-analysed thought. Because privacy matters. Privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be. (…) Together, we can find a better balance, end mass surveillance, and remind government that if it really wants to know how we feel, asking is always cheaper than spying.”
Edward Snowden, who was the runner-up to Pope Francis for TIME’s 2013 Person of the Year, may have changed the rule of an organised game. The New York Times called Snowden a “whistle-blower” and called President Barack Obama to grant him clemency. Indeed the newspaper conceded that Snowden broke the law in leaking data on the NSA’s vast surveillance and data-collection programs, but the paper also said that, “considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service.”
The Guardian, the newspaper that first reported on Snowden’s leak’s leaks, went further in calling for a pardon.