Highlights from Edward Snowden's Vancouver address

Dec 19 2017, 9:10 pm

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden brought a rousing call to arms to Vancouver Tuesday night, when he spoke live via weblink to a captivated audience at Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

“Technology has been used as a sword against people but it can also be used as a shield,” he told the sold-out theatre.

“To what do we owe a greater loyalty – to the law or to justice?”

Addressing everything from the recently leaked Panama Papers to the best way to keep your personal data private, Snowden was certainly hard-hitting and at times felt radical.

But his sense of humour and candour was also clear from the start, when host CBC senior correspondent Laura Lynch thanked him for getting up early at around 5 a.m. Moscow time.

Snowden said he hadn’t gotten up early for the discussion – he just hadn’t gone to bed yet.

Here are some highlights as they happened:

On the Panama Papers:

On why he became a whistleblower:

On the best everyday encryption out there:

On why governments want your data:

On why metadata matters:

On where we are now:

On what you can do:

On why you should care:

Snowden was speaking at a discussion of big data hosted by SFU’s Public Square, moderated by CBC senior correspondent Laura Lynch, with panellists Micheal Vonn of the BC Civil Liberties Association and SFU’s Peter Chow-White.

A former NSA contractor, Snowden famously leaked classified information from the U.S. National Security Agency in 2013, revealing sweeping global surveillance programs.

After consequently being charged with espionage by the U.S. government, Snowden was eventually granted asylum by the Russian government and now lives in Moscow.