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SXSW bring Snowden, Assange and security issues to the main event

The place to be today until Tuesday is at the South by Southwest Conference at the Austin Conference Center in Austin, Texas along with 30,000 other people. This year, NSA leaker Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks founder and secret spiller Julian Assange are topping the speakers’ list.

Yesterday Google's chief executive, Eric Schmidt, spoke to an energetic audience and announced that the company has completed its efforts to secure user data against unauthorized access.

On the opening day of the five day annual South by Southwest Interactive conference, Schmidt told panel moderator Stephen Levy of Wired that the solution to governmental intrusions was ‘to encrypt data more.’

Schmidt told the audience that he is pretty confident that the security and privacy issue in under control. However, he clarified that his company was still subject to the Patriot Act and ‘secret’ US courts.

Schmidt and Levy brought the conversation up another level when they were joined on stage by Jared Cohen, with whom Schmidt co-authored ‘The New Digital Age,’ which was published last year. The book examined how technology and the Internet were changing society.

Schmidt did not think that the NSA situation was any greater concern than other cyber security challenges. ‘We were attacked by the Chinese in 2010. We were attacked by the NSA in 2013,’ Schmidt said to keep the subject in perspective.

He was surprised that Julian Assange leaked a ‘transcript’ of a conversation Schmidt had with him. Nothing is sacred in the technology age.

Schmidt said that he sees coming improvements to encryption technology which will keep the Internet safe. He added that even countries like Iran wants to create their own Internet.

Snowden is scheduled to speak Monday at 11 am CT time via video conferencing with Christopher Soghoian, a privacy advocate and principal technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union, who will be onstage at SXSW in Austin, Texas.

Snowden’s anticipated video appearance comes with demands in a letter from Mike Pompeo, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, to rescind the invitation. In a very indignant tone in the letter, Pompeo wrote, ‘Snowden’s only apparent qualification is his willingness to steal from his own government and then flee to that beacon of First Amendment freedoms, the Russia of Vladimir Putin.’

Snowden is scheduled to focus on ‘how technology enables surveillance and how technology can protect us from surveillance,’ said Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union. Soghoian will be speaking to Snowden along with Snowden's legal adviser, the ACLU's Ben Wizner.

Julian Assange’s topic of discussion has not been released.

To view more on Snowden and NSA issues see the list below in the Author’s suggestions and the video atop this article.

Twitter: VictoriaWagner@victoriaross888

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