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SXSW Snowden speech calls for mass encryption, public NSA oversight

Despite US officials' protestations, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden addressed a packed venue at SXSW today, by way of a Google Hangout routed through no less than seven proxies. In his hour-long moderated conversation, Snowden addressed that end-to-end encryption with readily accessible tools are the keys to privacy. Additionally, he cited NSA leadership and intrusive surveillance as a reason for the onslaught of digital intrusion by hostile powers, caused by weakening of US cyber defenses.

In front of a digitally inserted backdrop of the US Constitution, Snowden noted that current telecommunication methods are encrypted at both ends, but the hosting company often decrypts the content in the middle of the stream to monetize the communications. However, if users take steps for independent encryption, surveillance currently implemented would be sufficient protection unless a significant amount of effort goes into decrypting the communications by would-be surveillance agencies.

Addressing the NSA surveillance that prompted his self-imposed exile to Russia, Snowden said that "It's nothing we asked for. It's not something we wanted."


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