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South by Southwest (SXSW) Gets Edward Snowden


Austin, TX – Accused spy and fugitive Edward Snowden will speak at South by Southwest (SXSW) via a video hookup from Russia.

Snowden, the man at the center of one of the most sensational espionage cases in U.S. history, will appear on screen in Austin on March 10 in an interactive session with attendees, the organizers of the high-profile technology and media show announced.

Snowden remains holed up in Moscow under the asylum protection granted by the Kremlin, but he was still able to jump to the top of the speaker marquee at SXSW with the help of Internet communications and audio-visual capabilities.  The live video feed will feature a discussion on Internet security between Snowden and his legal advisor from the American Civil Liberties Union. The event will also include a question-and-answer period between Snowden and the SXSW attendees.

Snowden was charged with espionage last year for making off with a huge cache of sensitive documents while working as a contractor for a company that worked for the super-secret U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). The material details the NSA’s eavesdropping on a wide range of telephone and Internet communications around the world.

The federal government contends Snowden’s leaks to the news media compromised national security, but his supporters say he blew the whistle on alleged illegal snooping on private citizens by the NSA.

“The conversation will be 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,” said Hugh Forrest, executive director of SXSW. Forest said the delegates would hear directly from Snowden about his beliefs on what the tech community can and must do to secure the private data of the billions of people who rely on the tools and services that the tech industry builds.

The Virtual Conversation with Edward Snowden session will be fed into Exhibit Hall 5 at the Austin Convention Center. Attendance is limited to holders of upper-tier Gold or Platinum name badges.

The session will also be simulcast in two of the center’s ballrooms for the rest of the crowd. For the general public, the session will be streamed live by the Texas Tribune and then archived on the ACLU website.

Snowden is not the only controversial figure who is on the lam over spilling secrets to appear at SXSW. Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, will hold a similar conversation with attendees via video feed on March 8.

Reach Hugh Forrest, executive director of SXSW, at (512) 467-7979 or

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