Edward Snowden, a former NSA agent, was expected to talk via videolink from Russia about various issues, including the future of privacy, surveillance technology and democratic oversight. Media reports confirmed that Snowden was planning to make his public appearance via satellite link. It has been more than one year of Snowden staying in the shadow in Moscow, after the UK and US newspapers published his revelations about mass surveillance and the national Security Agency.
Edward Snowed was going to appear via video link from Moscow and speak as part of the Observer Ideas festival, being held at London’s Barbican Theatre. This event was scheduled two days after the world premiere of Laura Poitras’s documentary about the whistleblower’s revelations named CITIZENFOUR at the New York Film Festival. In addition, the expectations were that Snowden would be one of the favorites to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
Edward has already appeared by video at a few public events abroad, but the Observer Ideas festival is the first time Snowden could be seen in Britain to answer questions posed by Observer technology columnist. The latter is also the professor of the public understanding of technology at the Open University and is known as a keen observer of what affect Snowden’s leaks had. The Observer technology columnist claimed he was tired of people rehashing the history of Snowden’s leaks. The experts believe that now matters what happens next. Edward Snowden has done a great job in revealing things that the world was shocked to learn about the ambition of the national security state.
Representatives of the Observer Ideas festival explained that they were going to find out how and whether the societies worldwide can reassert efficient democratic control over their own security agencies. Other issues to discuss included whether the technology enabling comprehensive surveillance can be used to protect privacy; the ways to improve law-making in these areas, and whether people would be willing to do something about this before it’s too late. Edward Snowden agreed to discuss all of those issues. The Observer Ideas festival is attended by a range of technologists, artists, scientists, activists and musicians.