Isidora Lopez-Venegas is the mother of an autistic U.S. citizen son. She was arrested by Border Patrol and told — wrongly —that she could easily obtain legal status through her son once she was in Mexico. In fact, once outside the United States, she would have to wait approximately 10 years before returning home to California. But if she had seen an immigration judge, she could have presented her strong claims to stay. Instead Isidora, accompanied by her son, had to leave the United States. They were only able to return home after the ACLU filed a lawsuit.
In his first conversation in front of an audience since his disclosures began making global headlines last year, Edward Snowden will appear via live video next Monday at SXSW Interactive, the festival that brings together tens of thousands of technology professionals and enthusiasts every year in Austin. He'll be talking to the ACLU's Ben Wizner and Christopher Soghoian.
The panel will take place on March 10 at 11 a.m. Central Time. A live stream will be available on The Texas Tribune's website, and the video will be available here afterwards. Here's the full description from SXSW:
Our communications are not secure. Our telephone calls, emails, texts, and web browsing activity are largely transmitted without any encryption, making it easy for governments to intercept them, in bulk. Likewise, the mobile devices, apps, and web browsers that we use do not protect our data. In many cases, they intentionally give it to third party companies as part of the sprawling online advertising ecosystem. This only makes the NSA's task easier.
Join us for a conversation between Edward Snowden and Christopher Soghoian, the American Civil Liberties Union's principal technologist, focused on the impact of the NSA's spying efforts on the technology community, and the ways in which technology can help to protect us from mass surveillance. The conversation will be moderated by Ben Wizner, who is director of the ACLU's Speech, Privacy & Technology Project and Edward Snowden's legal advisor. Audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions.
Just as technology has enabled our modern surveillance state, so too can technology protect us. But regular users cannot make privacy-preserving tools themselves. The technology industry and the tech community can and must do more to secure the private data of the billions of people who rely on the tools and services that we build.
Edward Snowden's revelations have launched a historic debate about surveillance practices and democratic controls, in which all three branches of government are actively and publicly engaging. But the technology community has too often been left out of the debate. It's time to fix that.
And that's not all for our SXSW presence! The ACLU will be represented on three other panels focusing on NSA surveillance, what you can do to protect yourself, and the spy movies that are no longer the stuff of fantasy.
If you happen to be at SXSW, visit us at our booth at the trade show March 9-12 to talk to our experts, learn more about our work on digital privacy and other civil liberties issues, get some of our useful resources and fabulous swag, and become an ACLU member.
You can find more details about the ACLU at SXSW here. Our other panels are:
- Telling the NSA to [Back] Off
- Surveillance on the Silver Screen
- Spies on All Sides: We Can't Opt Out