NSA leaker Edward Snowden will be calling into SXSW Interactive for an interview later today, and you'll be able to watch the conversation live as it happens. The interview will be streaming over at The Texas Tribune's website, and those who miss it will be able to watch the replay afterward courtesy of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). It's an ACLU representative who will be conducting the discussion today, with Snowden's legal advisor and another ACLU member moderating the chat — members of the audience in Austin will be able to ask questions too. The interview will begin at 11AM local time (12PM ET / 9 AM PT).
Speaking on the impact of surveillance on tech, and how tech can help avoid it
While this is a rare opportunity to hear thoughts directly from Snowden, who has been staying in Russia since shortly after leaking the trove of secret government documents exposing broad surveillance programs to the press, not everyone is interested in his presence. Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, has written a lengthy open letter to SXSW's organizers asking that they call off his appearance. "Certainly an organization of your caliber can attract experts on these topics with knowledge superior to a man who was hired as a systems administrator and whose only apparent qualification is his willingness to steal from his own government and then flee to that beacon of First Amendment freedoms, the Russia of Vladimir Putin," he writes.
For its part, SXSW attempts to distance itself from the politics of the matter, writing that, "As organizers, SXSW agrees that a healthy debate with regard to the limits of surveillance is vital to the future of the online ecosystem." Snowden's discussion will be focused on how the NSA's surveillance has affected the technology community, and how technology can also protect people from similar types of mass surveillance.