NSA employees use their pervasive spy apparatus to intercept nude photos and sexually explicit acts that are sent over the internet, Edward Snowden says in a new interview with the Guardian.

Edward Snowden

“You’ve got young enlisted guys, 18 to 22 years old, they’ve suddenly been thrust into a position of extraordinary responsibility where they now have access to all of your private records,” Snowden said in the Guardian interview.  “Now in the course of their daily work, they stumble across something that is completely unrelated to their work in any sense. For example, an intimate nude photo of someone in a sexually compromising situation, but they’re extremely attractive.”

NSA employees share the explicit photos

NSA employees don’t just look at the photos themselves. Like many office situations, they share.

“So what do they do? They turn around and they show their coworker. And their coworker says ‘Oh hey, that’s great. Show it 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,” Snowden said.

Is there any accountability?

“It’s never reported, no one ever knows about it because the auditing of these systems is incredibly weak. The fact that your private records, your private lives, records of your intimate moments have been taken from your private communication stream, from your intended recipient, by the government without any specific need, is a violation of your rights,” Snowden said in the Guardian interview.

Snowden urged to protect confidentiality

Snowden urged people, particularly professionals, to protect confidentiality to upgrade security in the wake of the spy revelations, in fact saying professionals were failing in their obligations to their clients, sources, patients and parishioners in what he described as a new and challenging world.

“What last year’s revelations showed us was irrefutable evidence that unencrypted communications on the internet are no longer safe. Any communications should be encrypted by default,” he said.

If he were brought to trial, Snowden would prefer a jury trial in the US rather a bench trial, saying it would be hard to find 12 jurors who would convict him. Negotiations with the US government on a return to his country appear to be stalled, the article noted. Snowden recognizes he is under constant surveillance, met the Guardian at a hotel within walking distance of Red Square.