There’s always a risk involved when sending compromising photos to someone, you can’t really stop them from posting those pictures online, and then that’s a completely different kind of nightmare. But what about people who can see those pictures without you ever knowing? As we all know courtesy of Edward Snowden’s leaks the National Security Agency is running massive electronic spying programs which include capturing of data sent over email, apps and social media.  Snowden has revealed in a new interview how some folks at the NSA view the ability to access other peoples’ private photos as a “fringe benefit.”

Snowden says that is a common practice among some NSA employees to pass around data that they have intercepted, data includes and is not limited to nude photos. He made these claims during a lengthy seven-hour interview with The Guardian.

“You’ve got young enlisted guys, 18 to 22 years old. They’ve suddenly been thrust into a position of extraordinary responsibility where they now have access to all of your private records,” he says.

He describes how often NSA employees stumble upon something that is completely unrelated to their work, like a nude photo.  If the subject in the photo captures their attention “they turn around in their chair and show their coworker,” Snowden claims. This then sets off a chain reaction where additional content of the same nature is shared and becomes a topic of discussion among employees.

Snowden says that this sort of behavior is not usually reported since the auditing of these systems is “incredibly weak.” His claims obviously don’t mean that everyone in the NSA is doing this, Snowden himself says that this behaviour could be “more or less frequent” and that it ultimately depends upon the maturity level of the people who have this level of access.

The Guardian will publish the full interview tomorrow and there are likely to be more revelations. While the NSA has come out against some of his former claims this particular one might be one that the NSA itself finds to be a bit tough to discredit.

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