The NSA Is Looking At Your Naked Pictures and Laughing

Your worst fears are coming true. It turns out, the government is not only intercepting your naked pictures, but they're laughing their asses off at them.

The NSA has done a lot of bullshit, inappropriate things that have absolutely nothing to do with the aim of protecting our country from terrorists. This isn't something that's disputed; the agency admitted as much back in 2013 when news broke some of their employees were using the agency to spy on their love interests.

So it should really come as no surprise that people in that same agency behave like 12-year-olds around sensitive information. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, in a riveting 17 minute interview with The Guardian, said there were "numerous instances" where employees passed around sexually explicit photos of people. From The Guardian via Arstechnica:

"You've got young enlisted guys, 18 to 22 years old," Snowden said. "They've suddenly been thrust into a position of extraordinary responsibility where they now have access to all of your private records. 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 position. But they're extremely attractive.

Just to reinforce the point he is making—these images are "completely unrelated to their work in any sort of necessary sense." In case you're one of the people out there thinking that only bad guys get spied on and therefor deserve to have their nude pictures laughed at, Snowden reminds us that's not the case. This is abuse of the power, pure and simple. There's more, of course:

"So what do they do? They turn around in their chair and show their co-worker. The co-worker says: 'Hey that's great. Send that to Bill down the way.' And then Bill sends it to George and 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 fact that your private images, records of your private lives, records of your intimate moments have been taken from your private communications stream from the intended recipient and given to the government without any specific authorization without any specific need is itself a violation of your rights. Why is that in a government database?"

My first reaction to this (besides GROSS) is of course. Of course that's what they were doing. Is there anyone who actually believed for a second that this wouldn't happen? Who defends this? Is our privacy and intimacy between romantic partners just collateral damage to the government? (The answer is yes, I know.) In case you're one of the people who don't think this is a big deal, just think for a moment if you were one of the people having their photos passed around and joked about. That's your government doing that, not some teenage bullies or dudebros on r/upskirt. Let that sink in before you chime in to call Snowden a coward or a traitor.