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LIVE: Edward Snowden Speaks To SXSW

Luke Skywalker

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Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who has leaked large amounts of classified information about the agency's electronic surveillance programs, is speaking to the South By Southwest Interactive forum this hour.
We've embedded a video player and you can get to it here as well. We'll also update this post with highlights.
Snowden, who is wanted for prosecution in the U.S., is speaking from Russia, where he's been given temporary asylum.
Earlier today, All Tech Considered previewed his SXSW appearance.
Update at 12:45 p.m. ET. Another Question For Snowden From The Web. Who Are You To Decide?
"On what basis do you get to be the person to unilaterally decide what material remains classified & what gets released?" (Tweeted here.)

We'll watch to see if that's asked.
Update at 12:40 p.m. ET. Question From The Web. What About Crimea?
Questions for Snowden can be posted with the Twitter hashtag #asksnowden. Tom Risen, a tech and business reporter for U.S. News, poses this topical query:
"What are you doing in Russia now that the Crimea situation is escalating?"

We'll watch to see if that's asked.
Update at 12:30 p.m. ET. Does Mass Surveillance Distract The Security Agencies?
Snowden argues that "we've actually had tremendous intelligence failures because we're monitoring the Internet ... everybody's communications, instead of the suspects' communications." His example: Tips about the brothers' accused in the Boston Marathon bombings may not have been thoroughly pursued because the surveillance programs were given priority.
Update at 12:25 p.m. ET. Says He's Not Weakening Nation's Security, NSA Is:
It's pointed out to Snowden that the NSA believes his revelations have harmed national security. His response? The NSA has "elevated offensive operations — that is, attacking — over the defense of our communications." And that, in Snowden's view, has made the nation less secure.
He makes the case that without a well-defended communications system, "our economy can't succeed."
Update at 12:15 p.m. ET. The Constitution As A Backdrop:
The background behind Snowden (presumably thanks to a "green screen" projection), is an image of the U.S. Constitution.
Note: NPR is not a SXSW sponsor, but our friends on the Music Desk are webcasting music from there and some NPR staff are appearing on some SXSW panels.