In yet another disturbing revelation about the culture and practices of the NSA, Edward Snowden revealed in an interview a common occurrence among NSA employees: they share and admire nude photos that are “accidentally” intercepted.
In an interview with The Guardian, Edward Snowden dished on one of the more disgusting occurrences that he claims to have witnessed on a regular basis as an analyst for the NSA. Snowden explained that a workforce of predominantly young men are given tremendous power that is, not unexpectedly, abused.
For example, an intimate nude photo of someone in a sexually compromising position. But they’re extremely attractive.
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 doesn’t get any more straightforward than that. When you can see anything, you might end up sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong. Snowden complained that the agency lacks the infrastructure and willpower for effective oversight to prevent and deter this kind of thing.
When asked how common this sort of practice was, Snowden responded, “these are seen as the fringe benefits of surveillance positions.” He further elaborated that the frequency of the snooping on intimate photos varies depending on “the company you keep.” As pointed out by Ars Technica, this stuff isn’t new. The practice of analysts snooping on prospective, current, and former love interests was so common it became known as LOVEINT.
These sorts of revelations are becoming routine. We have previously talked about the high amount of “undesirable nudity” on webcam wiretaps and all of the intimate personal information swept up in routine spying operations, that are then stored permanently.
Featured image by Bengt Nyman (Flickr).