The man who exposed mass internet surveillance was inspired by videogames

By Dave Cook, Wednesday, 14 May 2014 08:44 GMT

Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who exposed the mass internet surveillance plans of the NSA and GCHQ, seems to have had his moral compass directed by videogame heroes.


It follows the revelation that Microsoft’s Kinect was once identified by surveillance groups as a method of monitoring persons of interest. To be honest, they could watch me playing Titanfall in my PJs any day of the week. Knock yourself out mate.

Reporter and Snowden’s colleague during the NSA leaks Glen Greenwald, gave a big interview in a recent edition of GQ Magazine, during which he compared the whistleblower to a video game protagonist.

When asked about claims in his book that Snowden’s ‘moral universe’ was informed by games, Greenwald replied, “In Hong Kong, Snowden told me that at the heart of most video games is an ordinary individual who sees some serious injustice, right? Like some person who’s been kidnapped and you’ve got to rescue them, or some evil force that has obtained this weapon and you’ve got to deactivate it or kill them or whatever.

“And it’s all about figuring out ways to empower yourself as an ordinary person, to take on powerful forces in a way that allows you to undermine them in pursuit of some public good. Even if it’s really risky or dangerous.

“That moral narrative at the heart of video games was part of his preadolescence and formed part of his moral understanding of the world and one’s obligation as an individual.”

Still think games can’t have an inspired impact on the way people think?

Via Kotaku.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.

New games | Panels | Let's Plays | Industry Insight | Esports tournaments | Livestreams | Tabletop gaming | Exclusive merch | More!