Edward Snowden to Talk Privacy With the Tech Community at SXSW

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.

We'll be blogging throughout, so make sure to check back here and follow us on Twitter (@ACLU and @ACLULive) to get the updates.

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:


Learn more about government surveillance and other civil liberties issues: Sign up for breaking news alertsfollow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

View comments (8)
Read the Terms of Use

Vicki B.

I don't want a damn SINGLE "update" about him. It infuriates me that Chelsea Manning's sitting in prison while everyone parades Edward Snowden around as a "hero," which Americans can find in a lump of CLAY. They find "heroes" EVERYwhere while simultaneously NOT thinking it of people who did the same damn thing but are now sitting in prison for 35 years.

I'll never listen to a word that jack*** says b/c I think he was a gd JERK for saying he wanted the president to be shot to death by people.
He has no f'ing CLUE what being shot multiple times even FEELS like. I was shot in the back with three bullets. It's no "joke" to me to hear that someone wants to shoot another person and it's a stupid thing to say no matter WHO you think you are.
He's a big blow-hard creep for what he said and worse for not even being sorry or thinking he probably SHOULDN'T have made that STUPID comment.

You'll never convince me that Snowden's a hero but Manning deserves 35 years in prison.
It's bullshit in its purest and simplest form.
And I want absolutely NOTHING to do with him.

Note: I'm gd sick of every American creating only ONE hero out of every tragedy that involves LOTS of people but none of the other people ever get mentioned.
On the Sep-11 tragedy, they called everyone on Flight 93 a hero; just them and ONLY them. There were almost 3,000 OTHER people who also died but they got no fuckin' mention at ALL. One of the unmentioned being my daughter's dad.
On the Newtown tragedy, ONE teacher got an award, but the teacher I knew casually was never mentioned at all and won no awards just b/c something happened that was beYOND her control (all but one student in her class was killed in cold blood) so they decided she COULDN'T be heroic. Even tho she was doing the only thing she could when the gunman burst into her classroom: she was in the process of hiding her students.
Now they're doing it with THIS: "Edward Snowden's a hero" but nobody mentions Chelsea Manning and acts likes she must deserve all that prison time; which incidentally and annoyingly is more time than the bank robber who shot me three times received. He shot two people and got less time for BOTH crimes than Chelsea Manning did but never mind.
I'm utterly sick of this immature attitude of selective 'hero-picking' just b/c the people who do it refuse to admit a situation can exist in which they DON'T have all the control.
Yes, it's personal, I never said it wasn't, but I'd still think it even if I DIDN'T know two people who had died in tragic circumstances.
I don't know Snowden OR Manning, but I think either BOTH should be heroes or NONE should get credit. That's NOT personal. I just think it's worse than hypocritical to be all for one and none for the other.

Chelsea Manning never said she wanted President Obama dead by gunshot wounds. He DID say it.
He can piss up a rope for all I care. I have no trust in a person who can make a statement like that in front of the entire world.

from Richard, V...

Respectfully speaking:

We've come a long way since the forefathers' time where, even though they wrote in the Constitution that you have certain liberties, you still would have been hung from the nearest tree if you violated your government the way this person has - and apparently taking great relish in having done so.
Three hundred years ago, you were hung for giving your country's secrets to the world, however much smaller the definition of 'world' WAS then.
Now you do it and you're a hero? Just b/c you know how to run your mouth?
We've come a long way in the past 3 centuries, haven't we?

I would have had little to no concern if he'd told this information to our people - and ONLY our people. But this is the 21st Century and everyone who can operate two or more brain cells simultaneously, which doesn't seem to include him I'm sad to say, is aware that the rest of the world knows our secrets now as well as we do. I mean, all they have to do to find out anything they DON'T currently know that he said about us is hop online with a mouse and a keyboard and surf the net for the information. Don't they?

I didn't risk my life fighting in a war that left more indelible scars on me than the tattooed man possesses just so this person could flaunt deliberate disregard of his country in front of the entire world, not to mention my face.

It's mildly annoying that this person's being met with the big applause for doing what he believed was right while contrarily no Vietnam Veteran was ever received home in that manner. For doing what THEY believed was the proper response to a situation. Whether it ACTUALLY was is immaterial. In the heat of the moment, perceptions get bent and more so when the person perceiving them is anywhere from 18 to 20 years old, and anyway some were called according to the lottery, which gave them NO choice but to go or dodge the draft and be known as ex-country men.


I have not heard of Edward Snowden saying he wants Obama shot dead. Can you provide information of how I can find the statement?

On a related topic, I think some may find this article interesting (titled "How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations"):


Richard, the founding fathers of the U.S. would have been hanged by the British government for their revolutionary activities. It is very, very sad that you have overlooked that fact.

It is honorable to expose the unjust actions of a government. It is very, very sad that you equate that to running one's mouth.

from Richard

It may not have been obvious. I'm referring to giving our information to a foreign power. The Russian government to be specific.
In colonial times, if you were a Colonist and had given British soldiers information about the Colonists and the Colonists discovered you had done so, they would have hanged you without much question. Even though, at the time, they had already written the part of the constitution that states due process and how a man is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Of course, I may be talking out of turn when I say my piece.
OTOH I recall reading that he gave our government secrets to a foreign power. But news authors are notorious for sending out misinformation, and sometimes it's done innocently enough. Other times not so innocently. At any rate, I'm referring to the article I read and the third-person hearsay about his giving the Russian government information about us. Incidentally, that's also why I used a ? instead of a period when speaking of it. I'm open to hearing more about it or even to having it debunked as myth or misinformation.

At any rate, it would be pretty tough to say for certain whether he did or didn't, so I stand corrected. OTOH I still genuinely question whether he gave information to a foreign power.
He's the only one who can say for sure whether he did so, so that's probably a moot point.

Vicki B.

I want to know why you people expect him to get full immunity while another whistle blower, who did his telling within a similar time frame as Snowden, is rotting in prison with NO chance of immunity.
You guys are always talking about what's "not fair." Well, I can't think of anything MORE unfair than Chelsea Manning having no chance at ALL of getting FULL IMMUNITY but you expect people to sign a petition for THIS guy to get it?

I'm not signing a petition for full immunity. I signed the one for him to come home, but I'm not signing for full immunity, b/c I can't do it with a clear conscience. Not without understanding why he's the only one getting the favor of help but none of the other whistle blowers are getting anything.
OTHER people may be able to ask for Snowden's immunity while knowing Chelsea Manning is in prison for longer time than the guy who shot me got, but I can't do it AND feel good about myself for it.
I can't even feel slightly good about it. It might be a LITTLE personal - it's downright painful to find out a whistle blower got more time than someone who technically speaking killed me for 5 minutes (I was rescued by the life flight crew) - but it also just feels not right to do it for one person and forget the other.

This may or may not be an issue but I've never been able to do something that feels wrong. It even cost me a job one time. A toxic work environment, but I still lost the job b/c I refused to tell a boldfaced lie. Not to be obnoxious either. I honestly cannot do something that feels wrong.


Vicki B.,

Do you belong to Tea Party? Or NRA?
Do all of us a favor, EAT A BULLET.


I 100 % agree with Richard. Patriotism is putting your country first, and doing what was required, and what was needed and what may have also been a person wanted in the past, IS why we have a great country.

Aside from what was told, it is the WHO that matters. There are little excuses, when you give an oath and enter a job that you are full aware the purpose of the job is and you go after the job, and agree to perform certain duties.

Now if he had issues, he should have stayed here and let the organization usual chain of command or internal process handle the concerns. But morally he had to address his employment situation, and all I can think of to say is Why stay if you did not like what you were doing.

I am unaware of why he tried places for extradition, it appears all the worse, since he didn't battle anyone or anything to force him in continuing the work, and he did inn fact accept the job at the place he did understand what was to be asked of him.

My entire family has literally fought in every war since the Revolutionary War. With the exception of the most recent, and while no one in my immediate family did, the idea that the attempt to damage or harm the necessary means that are required because of acts that are nothing to do with rights violations. The entire task was his idea , he took the oath and took his job willingly. He chose to leave it and do harm.

The word treason has a large amount of meaning to someone who considers themselves Patriots. The option to gather the information was most certainly removed from the umbrella of choice by the government. They get blasted no matter what they do and the little known information could indeed bring harm. There was no secret the NSA is in fact a security organization. Period.

Whether he agrees with the overall idea isn't a question , he obviously did. So my thought make me wonder, what suddenly changed to make him decide its such a bad thing. So what caused him to suddenly have a reason to not only stop doing the things he didn't like, it seems that he didn't like something else. So he was getting even. To turn around and use that dislike to harm or weaken his country we arrive at the word treason again.

He took advantage of a trusted position and ran to countries that would hide him or so he thought. The things he took upon himself for his own purpose is in fact now a potential act that causes harm or weaken a nation cannot be ignored.

Like any family, I am sure its hardest on those loved ones. But to cause a public disgrace, and further solicit his own causes and pop up as a speaker on the subject of ACLU interests and NSA dangers in the same breath, I am sorry that is an AMERICAN organization, and clearly the moral issues of this country are no longer any of his business.

He is not an American living and working abroad, he is a person who by definition is a TRAITOR. There is no way around that and the ACLU does have plenty of deserving people who need their help and time. It appears again the morality of the heart of anything he does rests upon his own conscience and was in no way in danger or getting in trouble or pleading guilty of anything, only after he took property that did not belong to him personally and in such a manner that it more sounds like he didn't get money he was expecting or wanting would be most likely.

He demonstrates a lack of honest morals. Every step he has taken has proven the more guilty he is of him self doing what he was aware he was doing and willingly applied and was granted a job. Something that I am sure thousands of Patriots who do care about this country would have gladly done with honor.

Beyond the government here, he took something that belongs to ME and all Americans and decided it was his right to compromise it. The freedom that our past has brought us was never a threat from with in. Quite frankly I could care less who is listening because I don't do anything wrong nor do I carry on in such a way to draw attention that would cause a Security facet of our government to have cause to look. I am proud to be an honest American and the level of security that is required is addressed as best as possible or as far as I would know.

Its not his job to address this, and certainly if he had good reason then why not call the ACLU while still here. The pivot here in criminal or traitor is he left with information with intentions of using it to do intentional irreversible harm and to get his 15 minutes. He had no longer a right to do anything the moment he used stealing as his vehicle. There should be no leniency what so ever, and he should probably consider that while he is okay for now, where he is speaks volumes.

I do not take people trying to harm me, anything less than personal and neither should anyone else in America. In my opinion he did harm me, my country and spit in the face of the many Americans who lost their lives or were injured trying to build this great country.

I am offended, and I read Richard's post and only then did I consider even addressing this article. The skill set he seems to enjoy, appears he is trying to use again, well beyond the leaks and his cowardly theft, its the effort to tyry and make himself seem like he is just exercising some kind of right he seems to feel is his and his alone. The idea that he may have an audience on any level, seems to be his motivation.

He should be treated as any other threat to the nation, as a danger. Any thing less is a serious moral issue for anyone who thinks they want to join his cause. I would think before joining his band wagon or a person could be guilty of the same self serving pretense of morals and understand that at least from my view if you help a traitor or threat , the you are one too.

Thanks for saying what you said Richard. You did remoind me this is much bigger than just anger, this is messing with my family and yours too. This is why we need protecting from people who choose not to act in an honest manner. The impact of his actions were intentional. Maybe he should realize that he isn't beyond laws in other places, and could easily wind up becoming a problem rather than protected.

But his innocence and reasons he uses to defend it will never remove the penalty nor crime he chose to do. I would say this is some kind of self serving interest to try to reach out for help. He isn't entitled to a thing. He deserves to suffer the penalty of treason.

Thanks again Richard for everything, and the valid issues you reminded me of.

Stay Informed