Edward Snowden has finally made a public (albeit virtual) appearance after taking thousands of secret NSA documents and providing them to journalists. Snowden appeared at the annual SXSW festival in Austin, Texas in front of many tech enthusiasts who are generally of the anti-spying mindset.
Very few people have been able to talk to Snowden outside of legal representatives and the journalists that he has provided the NSA documents to. This appearance was far from smooth, with many distortions and freezes, but allowing his supporters to see himself in real time is probably one of the best things that Snowden could do.
Along with the thousands of people who were at the SXSW festival to see Snowden, there were hundreds of thousands of people who viewed his talk via a Google Hangouts livestream.
While there were many things that Snowden discussed during his appearance, the one line that summarized the majority of his talk was that the NSA is “setting fire to the future of the internet.”
Considering the outrage that has been present ever since the first NSA documents were released and the way that some countries are looking to deal with the US’ spying, Snowden may be correct in saying that the US has injured the internet.
Ben Wizner of the ACLU moderated the talk and asked a variety of questions while Snowden was available to answer them live. Wizner asked why Snowden chose to make his first public appearance in front of regular people at SXSW rather than in front of government officials in Washington DC:
The tech community are the ones who could help fix this situation, more than people in Washington. There’s a tech response needed. It’s the makers, thinkers, and the dev community who can help make sure we’re safe. – Edward Snowden
The ACLU has made Snowden’s livestream appearance available on YouTube, keep in mind that the video is quite troublesome as a result of the seven proxies that Snowden was using.
Summary: Edward Snowden has made his first public appearance since he fled the US with thousands of secret NSA documents. During the hour-long talk, Snowden said that the US has “set fire” to the future of the internet.
Image Credit: slate