Report: NSA Employees "Routinely" Pass Around Intercepted Nude Photos

Posted: Jul 18, 2014 3:38 PM

Former NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed in an interview with The Guardian that NSA employees "routinely" share nude photos that were intercepted from text messages or emails.

“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.

“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?”

Snowden then continued to say that this practice happened on a "routine" basis. Snowden's allegations are in line with the NSA's own reporting.

Regardless of ones' opinion about Snowden's actions, these allegations are disturbing. The Fourth Amendment did not become null and void with the advent of the internet and the telephone—and there's no valid reason for NSA employees to be sharing nude photos amongst themselves.