John Oliver motivated millions of commenters to fight against the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) anti-Net neutrality proposal, and now he is set to get his audience riled up about mass surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA). Oliver went to Russia to interview NSA leaker Edward Snowden on Last Week Tonight to talk about why the conversation about privacy matters.
“This is the most visible line in the sand for most people: Can they see my d—k?”
The Patriot Act is set to expire on June 1, but it could be renewed — if nobody is paying attention. Oliver thinks he’s found the way to inspire Americans to care about mass surveillance. He asked Snowden to explain how the NSA gets a look at all of those smutty pictures Americans send to each other. More specifically, he asked Snowden what happens to all the d–k pics.
But first, Oliver showed Snowden how little the American people actually know about him, the NSA, and the information he leaked. Most Amercians Oliver interviewed didn’t know who Snowden was, or if they did, they thought he was the Wikileaks guy.
“Not ideal,” Oliver said to Snowden. “I guess, on the plus side, you might be able to go home because it seems like no one knows who the f–k you are or what the f–k you did.”
Then Oliver presented Snowden with his idea of what would make Americans demand an end to the NSA and the Patriot Act’s authorization of mass surveillance programs. He derailed Snowden’s calm, almost rehearsed speech about freedoms and the tech behind the NSA’s program to make the former security analyst focus exclusively on d–ck pics. To convince Snowden how key it was to explain how the NSA gets access to your d–k pics, Oliver showed him a series of Americans expressing outrage over the idea that the government can see and store their naughty photos.
As Oliver so wisely puts it: “This is the most visible line in the sand for most people: Can they see my d—k?”
“I guess I never thought about putting it into context of your junk before,” Snowden said.
Snowden replied that of course, the NSA sees naked pictures all the time. However, he did say that there’s a silver lining to all this.
“The good news is, there is no [government] program named The Dick Pic Program,” says Snowden. “The bad news is they are still collecting everybody’s information, including your d–k pics.”
Oliver then asked Snowden to explain how on Earth the NSA gets ahold of Americans’ d–k pics, even though most people aren’t sending them out of the country. Most Internet companies, including Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and so on have servers all over the world, so your data isn’t confined to America, making it more susceptible to NSA surveillance.
“When your junk was passed by Gmail, the NSA got a copy of that,” Snowden explained.
“If the American people knew about this, they would be absolutely horrified,” Oliver replied, once they’d gone through how each program collects Americans’ data.
“I guess I never thought about putting it into context of your junk before,” Snowden said near the end of the interview.
Finally, Oliver asked Snowden if the best answer was to stop sending nude photos to each other, but Snowden quickly shut down that idea.
“You shouldn’t change your behavior because a government agency somewhere is doing the wrong thing,” he said. “If we sacrifice our values because we’re afraid, we don’t care about those values very much.”
Oliver was delighted by Snowden’s answer, and declared, “That is a pretty inspiring answer to the question, ‘Hey, why did you just send me a picture of your d—k?’ Because I love America, that’s why.”
You can watch the full clip in the video above.