Although Edward Snowden, controversial champion of individual freedom, is currently seeking asylum in Russia, he is set to speak at a number of events across Australian capitals later this year. In classic Snowden style he will of course not be appearing in person, but will be participating in the Australian speaking tour, An Evening With Edward Snowden, via video link.
Snowden is known for exposing the invasive actions of intelligence agencies such as the USA's National Security Agency, revealing in 2013 that the NSA was secretly seizing and retaining the private records of everyday civilians — leading to Snowden being charged with 'espionage' and having to flee the country. Since taking refuge in Russia, Snowden has made his living from speaking for events like these, and during a similar panel mentioned that "people say I live in Russia, but that's actually a little bit of a misunderstanding. I live on the Internet."
Although his actions have been largely centred on the US and their politics, his actions are no less relevant an Australian audience, with similar concerns having surfaced here down under. "Just months ago, an aggressive new ‘bulk collection’ program came into effect in Australia, mandating the indiscriminate interception of private records without regard to an individual’s guilt or innocence," Snowden said, addressing a recent Australian surveillance initiative. "This is the most classic form of mass surveillance, and it radically redefines the balance of power between citizen and state…a battle is beginning, and the internet and democracy hang in the balance."
At the Australian events, Snowden will appear via video link to speak about what he did and why he did it, providing a first-hand account of his actions.
Tickets for the events are available here for the following dates and locations:
Fri 20 May — PCEC, Perth Sat 21 May — ACC, Adelaide Sun 22 May — MCEC, Melbourne Fri 27 May — Courier Mail Piazza, Brisbane Sat 28 May — Hordern Pavilion, Sydney Sun 29 May — Llewellyn Hall, Canberra