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Snowden Will Speak To SXSW Crowds From Russia

The festival's interactive branch will host a video conferenced discussion on the NSA leaks and their effect on the tech community.
Posted at 8:38 PM, Mar 04, 2014

He can't legally step foot in the U.S., so whistleblower Edward Snowden is speaking to attendees at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival the only way he can: via video conference.

The former national security contractor now living in Russia will take part in a virtual roundtable on U.S. spying efforts and their effect on the tech community. That's set for March 10 at the festival in Austin, Texas. (Via Channel 4)

Though, of course, the discussion's real home is on the web. That will allow for simulcasting across multiple South by Southwest auditoriums. And the non-profit Texas Tribune news site will carry the discussion live for all the Internet to see. 

Now, Snowden will be on friendly ground during this discussion. Moderating will be Ben Wizner of the ACLU, who also happens to be Snowden's legal adviser. (Via The Guardian, NBC)

But the event will have an unscripted twist to it: questions from the audience directed at Snowden himself. 

And given recent events, it's not hard to imagine a question about the latest military action from the nation giving Snowden asylum: Russia. Though South by Southwest has made a point of keeping the discussion focused on the NSA. (Via CNNFox News)

Government surveillance is a big theme of the festival's interactive branch this year. Glenn Greenwald and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will also be speaking through video conference at South by Southwest. (Via ABC)

A festival organizer told CNN it took three months to secure Snowden as a speaker. Of course, his talk won't just be available live. It'll be hosted on ACLU's website afterward for replay.