What it’s like being mistaken for Edward Snowden
He’s not most famous whistleblower of all time, he’s just a 24-year-old who lives in Brixton
Must be weird getting messages calling you both the saviour of our privacy and a traitor to America. Edward Snowdon (note the slight spelling difference) has been bombarded with emails, tweets and weird looks since his namesake blew the lid on government surveillance back in 2013. The 24-year-old couldn’t be further than the more famous Edward Snowden – he works in television and lives in Brixton, not Moscow.
Everything changed when the whistleblower revealed thousands of classified documents, when he fled to Russia and especially when he created a Twitter account, only following the NSA just to wind them up even more. We got in touch with Edward to find out how he deals with the relative fame.
Hi Edward Snowdon. What’s it like having your name?
“Emails, reservations, applications – the list is exhaustive. I get a steady stream of comments on Twitter. Most commenters simply thank me for my heroic fight for justice, whilst the odd person insists I am a traitor to America and should face the music.”
What was your reaction when you first heard of Edward Snowden?
When it first hit the headlines in 2013, I thought it was quite funny. I found out when a friend told me I was trending on Twitter. My own mother rang me to suggest I had in fact been hiding something from her all along, after she heard my name on the radio. The comments haven’t stopped. Now I feel like a man who has had to watch a terrible stand up comedian say the same lines for three years straight, who thinks I’ve never heard the song before.
So have you ever thought about changing your name?
I could be an Ed, Edd, Eddy or Ted among friends and family, but I wouldn’t take one as a legal name. I considered changing my username to Snowman once, but people may think I was a classic Christmas movie.
What do you really think about Edward Snowden?
He strikes me as a reasonable chap with good intentions, who needed to get things off his chest for the greater good of progressive society. Whether the methods used to obtain information were right or wrong however, the undeniable fact remains that he has probably scuppered years worth of investigation that may have prevented tragedy.
Do you ever think you’re being watched or bugged because of your name?
No, but I once lost my passport at Copenhagen airport and security went to town reading out my name. It’s worrying how many security guards thought it could be the real deal, quite the trophy for any respectable border police. I am sure Edward Snowden he pops over to Copenhagen at weekends for groceries.