GO
Loading...

Citizens' Racy Photos Shared Among NSA Workers, Snowden Says

Edward Snowden speaks remotely at SXSW.
Source: Google+
Edward Snowden speaks remotely at SXSW.

Racy photos intercepted by the NSA are routinely shared among intelligence workers, according to former contractor Edward Snowden. He said NSA analysts searching for signals intelligence were examining mostly mundane but sometimes intimate — messages and photographs sent online or through cellphones by "ordinary citizens."

Read More Big Brother is watching—make that trolling—you

"They stumble across something … completely unrelated to their work, for example an intimate nude photo of someone in a sexually compromising situation," he told The Guardian newspaper from Moscow, where he has sought temporary asylum after leaking classified documents about U.S. surveillance programs. "They turn around in their chair and they show a co-worker. And their co-worker says: 'Oh, hey, that's great. Send that 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 such incidents occur about every two months."It's routine enough, depending on the company you keep," he added. "But these are seen as the fringe benefits of surveillance positions."

More from NBC News:

Russian News Media Back Putin, Offer Different View of Jet's Downing
VA Hospital Mistakenly Declares Live Patient Dead
Where the 2016 Race Stands in Two Minutes

By Alastair Jamieson, NBC News

Contact Cybersecurity

  • CNBC NEWSLETTERS

    Get the best of CNBC in your inbox

    › Learn More

Squawk Alley