Edward Snowden to speak at Web Summit 2019

3 Oct 2019

Edward Snowden on cover of Wired magazine. Image: Mike Mozart/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden will answer questions from a moderator via live feed at Web Summit 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal.

Former intelligence officer and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been billed to speak at Web Summit 2019 next month in Lisbon, Portugal.

Snowden will speak at the conference via video link in what the organisers claim will be his biggest audience to date, and his first public appearance since the release of his memoir, Permanent Record, in September 2019.

The talk will be broadcast to the public in addition to the 70,000 attendees the conference estimates will be there. Organisers have said that Snowden will be taking questions from an on-stage moderator about his work for the NSA.

Snowden is renowned for leaking documents regarding global surveillance carried out by US and UK spy agencies in 2013. He was granted asylum in Russia shortly after he was revealed to be behind the leak and has lived there since, declining to travel to any countries with an extradition treaty with the US for fear of arrest.

In the wake of the publication of his memoir, the US government filed a civil lawsuit against Snowden, which it contends was in violation of non-disclosure agreements with both the CIA and the NSA.

The lawsuit maintains that Snowden failed to submit the book to the agencies for pre-publication review “in violation of his express obligations under the agreements he signed”.

The suit has also said that the public speeches he has given on matters related to intelligence are also in violation of these non-disclosure agreements. While the US government does not seek to block publication of Permanent Record, it is aiming to recover all profits earned.

“The United States’ ability to protect sensitive national security information depends on employees’ and contractors’ compliance with their non-disclosure agreements, including their pre-publication review obligations,” said assistant attorney general Jody Hunt of the Department of Justice’s civil division.

Some have speculated that the US will predicate its case on the 1980 case against Frank Snepp, a former CIA analyst who published a book in 1977 about the agency’s role in the Vietnam war.

Edward Snowden on cover of Wired magazine. Image: Mike Mozart/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic