Appearing by telepresence robot, Edward Snowden speaks at TED2014 about surveillance and Internet freedom. The right to data privacy, he suggests, is not a partisan issue, but requires a fundamental rethink of the role of the internet in our lives — and the laws that protect it. “Your rights matter,” he say, “because you never know when you’re going to need them.” Chris Anderson interviews, with special guest Tim Berners-Lee.
The NSA whistleblower took to the stage during the conference’s second day via a Beam telepresence robot he controlled from what TED organizer Chris Anderson called an “undisclosed location.” Snowden said there are still revelations to be made and stories to be told about the intelligence agency. “I don’t think there’s any question that some of the most important reporting to be done is yet to come,” Snowden said, just one week after appearing at SXSW in Austin, Texas.
Rather than the traditional 18-minute TED talk, in which a single speaker addresses the audience, Anderson essentially interviewed Snowden. Through a strikingly clear connection, the bot-ified Snowden was poised and good-humored as he called on tech companies to make SSL encryption the default for browsing the web. “To people who have seen and enjoyed the free and open internet, it’s up to us to preserve that liberty for the next generation to enjoy,” he said.
Anderson suggested that Snowden’s sentiments parallel those of Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the web, who has recently used the 25th anniversary of the world wide web to call for an “internet bill of rights.” But because this was TED, Anderson didn’t have to speculate on the similarities between the goals of Snowden and Berners-Lee. He simply brought Berners-Lee on stage to find out.
At the end of Snowden’s appearance, Anderson stuck a TED conference badge on Snownden’s bot and invited him to stick around for the week. With that, he rolled offstage, accompanied by his lawyer.
— TED Talks (@TEDTalks) March 18, 2014