March 10, 2014
In an hourlong conversation live-streamed to SXSW Interactive from an undisclosed location, whistleblower Ed Snowden defended the Constitution, addressed potential protections against mass surveillance, and discussed why he believes he had to leak secret information to public sources.
In a discussion that was somewhat more technical in detail than perhaps anticipated, Snowden was joined by his ACLU attorney Ben Wizner and ACLU technologist Chris Soghoian. The conversation bounced back and forth from policy implications – focusing on protecting the privacy of ordinary citizens from mass government surveillance – to technical matters, particularly what tools might be made available to make users’ data less easily available to government snooping.
Snowden and Soghoian emphasized that privacy can be protected – “encryption works,” Snowden insisted – and argued that precisely because of Snowden’s leaks, major companies have had to improve their security systems, and both companies and officials have begun to push back against overbroad government surveillance.