SXSW sponsored another Edward Snowden call-in this year. But, unlike the much-publicized SXSW conference call in 2014, Snowden opted for a low-key, invitation-only affair at SXSW in 2015.
According to The Verge, around two-dozen members from the technology and policy world attended the SXSW question-and-answer conference. Golden Frog president and attendee, Sunday Yokubaitis, described the SXSW event as a “call to arms” for the tech industry to implement better privacy tools for their customers.
The Business Insider reported that Snowden used the SXSW platform this year to call on companies to invest in SSL web security technology, and to introduce technology that blocks mass surveillance, and to make it economically nonviable for the government to spy on the general public.
The SXSW session between Snowden and attendees was more personal due to the intimate size of the crowd. Hugh Forrest of SXSW said this was intentional.
“Last year, having Edward Snowden in the big room was fantastic. But for 2015, we wanted to do something a lot more intimate,” Forrest said.
“So, this morning’s event was an invite-only session with about 30 tech leaders who are attending SXSW. The smaller group allowed for more in-depth questions, answers, ideas, brainstorms and discussion that simply can not be done in the kind of space where we hosted his talk in 2014.”
A few SXSW attendees didn’t miss the chance to have selfies with Snowden.
“I have gained so much. I have the ability to contribute in a much more meaningful way. I really got the sense that I’m helping to improve lives,” Snowden said.
“It gives me a reason to get up in the morning. And that’s something that you can’t get from almost anything other than maintaining a guiding principle that you believe in very strongly.”
Snowden made it clear beforehand at the SXSW conference this year that he was not leaking any new NSA revelations.
The Inquisitr reported that Snowden is ready to return to the U.S. if he is guaranteed a fair trial. His lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, gave a press conference earlier in March and reiterated Snowden’s wishes.
“He is thinking about it. He has a desire to return and we are doing everything we can to make it happen,” Kucherena said.
“Snowden is ready to return to the States, but on the condition that he is given a guarantee of a legal and impartial trial.”