Whistleblower and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has appeared in a televised Christmas message released by British TV station Channel 4.

In his message, Snowden says modern surveillance was more invasive than any envisioned in George Orwell's novel 1984, adding that children today will grow up without knowing what it means to have an unrecorded or private moment.

"That's a problem, because privacy matters. Privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be," he says.

Keeping a mostly low-profile existence as a U.S. fugitive marooned in Moscow, Snowden has suddenly resurfaced in the media, saying he is confident his personal mission is already accomplished and he has already won after leaking NSA secrets. The challenge now, he believes, is to stress the importance of privacy and urge an end to mass government surveillance.

"The conversation occurring today will determine the amount of trust we can place both in the technology that surrounds us and the government that regulates it," he says. "Together we can find a better balance, end mass surveillance and remind the government that if it really wants to know how we feel, asking is always cheaper than spying."

Channel 4 produces a Christmas message every year as an alternative to the one delivered by Queen Elizabeth II, and has used it to give a platform to people as diverse as Iran's then-president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad in 2008, and fictional characters including Ali G and Marge Simpson in 1999 and 2004, respectively.

Click on the Snowden video above to watch it.