His entire talk is embedded. Snowden is, of course, still in Russia, but the multiple proxy server-hopping technique ensures that no one will know exactly where he is. The event marked the first time the former National Security Agency contractor and now whistleblower has directly addressed people in the United States since he fled the country after leaking thousands of secret documents last June.
The documents -- still being leaked by media -- made household names out of programs that were secret. These include such names as PRISM, MUSCULAR, and more.
When asked if he would do it again, Snowden didn't hesitate.
Would I do it again? Absolutely. Regardless of what happens to me, this (the information) is something we had a right to. I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution. And I saw the Constitution was being violated on a massive scale.Snowden's video appearance was made against the backdrop of a copy of the U.S. Constitution.
Earlier, Snowden had applauded SXSW:
South by Southwest and the tech community, the people in the room in Austin, they're the folks who can fix this. There's a political response that needs to occur, but there's also a tech response that needs to occur.Snowden answered questions that came from the two moderators (the ACLU's Chris Sogohian and Ben Wizner, his legal counsel), from the audience, and from Twitter.
The first question came from Tim Berners-Lee, who created the World Wide Web 25 years ago this week. Berners-Lee asked Snowden what he would change about the nation's surveillance system. Snowden's answer:
We need public oversight ... some way for trusted public figures to advocate for us. We need a watchdog that watches Congress, because if we're not informed, we can't consent to these (government) policies.Snowden is currently living in Russia under a temporary one-year asylum agreement. Were he to return to the U.S., he would face felony charges of espionage and theft of government property. He has said he will not return to the U.S. until the country changes its whistleblower protection laws.