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Edward Snowden added to SXSW Interactive roster as keynote speaker

South by South West Interactive has lined up NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden as a speaker for next week’s festival.

Related: Edward Snowden leaks still haunt business cyber security

Snowden, who is still in Russia following the high profile leak of documents, will speak via video link on Monday 10 March at 1100 local time and talk with Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union [ACLU].

The discussion will focus on the impact that NSA spying has had on the technology industry as well as the different ways that technology can protect citizens from mass surveillance across the globe.

Those in attendance will be able to hear from Snowden directly and among the topics he will cover will be what the technology community can and must do to protect the secure data of billions of people around the world.

Moderating the session will be Ben Wizner, director of ACLU’s speech, privacy and technology project as well as Snowden’s legal advisor and anyone not in Austin, Texas can enjoy a simulcast of the event on The Texas Tribune website.

Attendees will be invited to put questions to Snowden and Hugh Forrest, SXSW Interactive director, admitted that it took some three months to secure Snowden’s testimony at the event and it’s a huge part of this year’s event.

"The growth of social media has fuelled so much of the growth of the online ecosystem, but the revelations from the summer of 2013 expose the costs and downsides of this growth,” Forrest told CNN.

Related: The year the NSA hacked the world: A 2013 PRISM timeline (Part I)

Snowden has been on the run from US authorities since June 2013 after he exposed spying by the NSA as part of the PRISM project that also involved the UK’s GCHQ. The revelations have had a widespread effect on businesses as well as authorities and it has spawned a two year investigation into the post-Snowden internet that was announced by the World Economic Forum.