Edward Snowden is currently the most wanted man in the U.S after becoming a whistleblower against the National Security Agency?s questionable practices on Internet data. Snowden chose to make his first digital appearance at the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas and accused the NSA of setting fire to the Internet. His revelation caused a global uproar when he shared it with the Washington Post and The Guardian last year.
Snowden?s Chosen Venue Made Sense
Snowden?s presence at the SXSW made sense when he faced the tech ? savvy masses that were equipped with the perfect tools to prevent government intrusion into every citizen?s privacy. He said via tightly secured Google Hangout that the SXSW audience should create solutions to ensure the people?s safety. Snowden called the people in the conference as firefighters who could kill the fire that the NSA started. He believes that the issue on global mass surveillance is, indeed, an important global issue.
The NSA whistleblower?s conversation with his lawyer, Ben Wizner and the American Civil Liberties Union?s technologist Christopher Soghoian filled up three auditoriums in the convention centre. The U.S intelligence community called Snowden a thief and spy. Reactionary politicians like Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo even sent an open letter to the SXSW and called Snowden a common criminal and traitor, urging the organizers to prevent his appearance.
Snowden made it clear that he had no problem with applying surveillance on suspected terrorists or lawbreakers, but had concerns with broad surveillance on ordinary people. He said that this practice violates the U.S Constitution.
Tech Giants Failed to Provide Adequate Protection
Major tech companies in the U.S have been allowing this sort of spying because they failed to provide tighter security measures to users on their daily online activities, both Soghoian and Snowden agreed. The tech giants like Facebook, Google and Yahoo are just beginning to create reliable encryption protections in their services. Soghoian said that the average user has to choose between an easy ? to ? use service and a complicated but highly secured one.
Snowden argued that focusing on surveillance is offensive, rather than defensive against possible attacks. He added that this has left the country less secure because a system designed to be surveilled is ?a target waiting to be attacked.?