Edward Snowden is an infamous whistleblower who exposed the extent of the government surveillance capabilities in the US. He handed over these documents to the media and The Guardian released the information in 2013. Snowden was charged by the US government with theft of government property and fled to Russia where he currently resides.
The secrets exposed by Snowden revealed that the US government, through the National Security Agency (NSA), is collating huge amounts of personal and private data as it travels in and out of US servers. This includes email and phone records, even if the company moves the data from one server to another.
With all the information on the internet it’s not just the NSA that is after the information of private citizens. Bots and hackers are also present amongst the traffic of the internet, searching for information they can exploit. This ranges from the stealing of credit card information, to actions of LulzSec a hacking group that exposed the information of 73 000 X Factor US contestants, for the “lulz”.
A common way of hacking into personal accounts is using a bot to try every password combination until one of them works. Which is why the longer your password the safer it is. Edward Snowden talks about this in this video with John Oliver: