Edward Snowden, NSA whistleblower, to speak at South by Southwest

Photo provided by The Guardian Newspaper in London shows Edward Snowden, who worked as a contract employee at the National Security Agency, on June 9, 2013, in Hong Kong. AP/The Guardian

Edward Snowden -- the former NSA contractor turned whistleblower -- will be one of the speakers at the 2014 South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas, organizers announced. Snowden, who is living under temporary asylum in Russia, will appear via videoconference on Monday, March 10.

Snowden and Christopher Soghoian, the principal technologist of the Americans Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), will have a conversation about the impact of the National Security Agency's spying efforts on the technology community and how to protect data from mass surveillance. According to the SXSW website, Snowden will talk about what the tech industry must do to secure the data of billions of people who use their services and tools every day.

The session will be live-streamed through the Texas Tribune website and can be accessed for free.

Surveillance and online privacy are expected to be among the biggest topics at this year's conference. SXSW attracts thousands of people to Austin each year for a week-long conference and festival celebrating Interactive technology, music and film. This year it begins March 7.

Snowden gained notoriety after exposing the NSA's secret surveillance program targeting cell phone and email data, known as PRISM. After leaking the documents that uncovered the program last year, Snowden fled to Hong Kong and then Russia. He is charged with espionage, theft of government property, and other counts under the Espionage Act in the United States.


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