Digital Life

Snowden Appears Virtually at SXSW, Talks Privacy

Snowden Appears Virtually at SXSW, Talks Privacy
March 11, 2014 12:40PM

Bookmark and Share
Speaking virtually to attendees at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas, whistleblower Edward Snowden put the onus on the tech community -- individuals and companies -- to change the way data is protected. "It's the makers, thinkers, and the dev community who can help make sure we're safe," Snowden told the SXSW audience.

Neustar, Inc. (NYSE: NSR) is a trusted, neutral provider of real-time information and analysis to the Internet, telecommunications, information services, financial services, retail, media and advertising sectors. Neustar applies its advanced, secure technologies in location, identification, and evaluation to help its customers promote and protect their businesses. More information is available at www.neustar.biz.

In his first public appearance since fleeing the U.S. with thousands of secret National Security Agency (NSA) documents, whistleblower Edward Snowden spoke about privacy during the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas. Bouncing between seven proxies and facilitated by Google Hangouts, Snowden’s hour-long live video chat was troublesome but it still allowed him to discuss a variety of topics and answer some questions from the public.

As Snowden began to answer questions from moderator Ben Wizner of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), he highlighted the potential for the NSA and the U.S. government to inflict lasting damage to what is arguably the most important communications system available, stating that they are “setting fire to the future of the Internet.”

Political Problems

While a large portion of the live Snowden interview dealt with technical security issues, the political aspect of the NSA’s spying was also of utmost importance. The first topic that Wizner brought up was Snowden’s decision to make an appearance at SXSW rather than in front of government officials in Washington D.C. He responded by saying that tech enthusiasts are the people who are actually going to fix the problem and protect the Internet.

"The tech community are the ones who could help fix this situation, more than people in Washington," Snowden said. "There's a tech response needed. It's the makers, thinkers, and the dev community who can help make sure we're safe."

Members of the tech community are not just individuals but rather companies like Google, Facebook, and Yahoo, some of which are already beginning to change the way that user data is protected in light of the Snowden revelations from 2013. Encryption is one of the few suggestions that Snowden provided in numerous answers during the talk. The steps that are finally being taken by Internet-based companies suggest that people have finally realized that they cannot be passive when dealing with privacy and security.

In the Public Interest

After the interview portion of Snowden’s appearance, some members of the public were able to ask selected questions. Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, requested the “privilege” of asking the first question. Bringing up an important point, Berners-Lee asked how Snowden would like to see national security agencies governed.

Snowden said that he does not trust the U.S. Congress to be in charge of monitoring the surveillance activities of the NSA and other organizations. Instead, he called for “public oversight," stating that “we need a watchdog that watches Congress.” Not only would Snowden like to see a watchdog appointed to monitor Congress but he would want such an organization that can also advocate for U.S. citizens and influence decisions.

Closing out the hour-long talk, Snowden received a standing ovation from the people at SXSW. Whether or not he will continue to make public appearances like this has yet to be seen, though speaking at SXSW appears to have been a good decision.

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:



 Digital Life
1. Verizon Boosts FiOS Upload Speeds
2. Visa Intros Online Payment Service
3. 'TV Anywhere' Solutions from Sling
4. Mobile Apps Offer Last-Minute Deals
5. Drive-ins: Digital Switch Is Crucial


Have an informed opinion on this story?
Send a Letter to the Editor.
We want to know what you think.
Send us your Feedback.

 Related Topics  Latest News & Special Reports

  Lenovo Still in Small Windows Tablets
  How Chrome Eats Your Battery Life
  Cisco Woos More Devs with DevNet
  Investor Wants EMC To Spin Off VMware
  Schools Buy Million Chromebooks in Q2

 Technology Marketplace
Big Data
Unlock your enterprise data's potential. Learn how in the research report.
Are you getting everything you can out of your business data?
 
Business Intelligence
Get real-time, cloud-based information services with Neustar.
 
CIO Issues
Secure and retain skilled technology professionals. Learn how.
 
Cloud Computing
Are you getting everything you can out of your business data?
 
Data Storage
Unlock your enterprise data's potential. Learn how in the research report.
 
Enterprise Hardware
Protect your network with APC Smart-UPS battery backup
Cisco UCS Invicta Series flash memory systems
 
Enterprise I.T.
Register for an upcoming ISACA® certification exam today
Secure and retain skilled technology professionals. Learn how.
 
Enterprise Software
Unlock your enterprise data's potential. Learn how in the research report.
 
Hardware
Protect your network with APC Smart-UPS battery backup
Ferocious productivity. A fearless team of pros. Find Out More
Cisco UCS Invicta Series flash memory systems
 
Network Security
Protect your network with APC Smart-UPS battery backup
 
Small Business
Ferocious productivity. A fearless team of pros. Find Out More