John Oliver Interviews Edward Snowden in Russia

Last week tonight with John Oliver interviewed Edward Snowden to talk about the issue of surveillance.

The full interview can be seen here:

It was an atypical interview (as always) and John focused on the issue of getting Americans to care about the issue. In a depressing series of questions to random people in New York City, Americans had no idea who Edward Snowden was, what he did, or the impact of his actions. Some people even confused him with Julian Assange of Wikileaks fame.

John jokingly interrupted Snowden during the interview, pressing Snowden on the issue that as soon as you get technical in your explanations or cite complex legal documents, Americans stop caring about the issue. It is comedy, but it is a very poignant way to look at how Americans view the issue.

John then put it in a very basic context that he found Americans do care about. "Dick pics." He showed that the same people that he had interviewed earlier in New York (who didn't know who Snowden was and didn't generally care about surveillance) unanimously cared intensely about their nude photos. He went through a few NSA programs and talked about how it would relate to Americans and their nude photos.

The context around nude photos is a genius insight. It allows Americans to think about the issue in a context that they care about and brings the issue of privacy to the forefront. People tend to glaze over when you talk about Section 215 of the Patriot Act and meander through legal interpretations and technical documents. When you tell them that the government is intercepting their sexts and nude photos, the conversation changes and suddenly becomes immediately relevant to them.


Olivier Lacan has created a site inspired by this John Oliver interview with Snowden here:

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