Snowden support signs
A Washington, D.C. rally in December, 2013 supported Snowden. Photo from Shutterstock Shutterstock.com

The man that says he lives on the Internet will be the showcase speaker at SecTor, a Toronto-based security conference this year.

Edward Snowden, the former CIA employee and government contractor that leaked classified documents about a mass surveillance operation run by the National Security Administration (NSA), will be appearing at the conference via a video link from Russia, where he’s been living under asylum since 2013. SecTor will be Snowden’s first and only commercial conference appearance in North America this year, conference organizers say.

“Edward Snowden is not only one of the biggest names in cybersecurity, but his unique situation and cybersecurity experiences also make him one of the most important and influential,” said SecTor co-founder Brian Bourne in an email announcement. It’s important to have him “appear in front of the Canadian IT community, so we engage and inspire today’s security professionals and don’t fall behind.”

Snowden has been said to make his living off of speaking fees since fleeing the U.S. and leaking state secrets. Snowden’s lawyer Ben Wizner once told the New York Times the fees can sometimes exceed $10,000 per appearance.

Snowden has also made appearances at conferences and gallery events via telepresence robot BeamPro, essentially a raised iPad on two wheels. He first used the robot at a TED talk in 2014.

Beyond NSA’s clandestine mass surveillance operations that were leaked by Snowden, Canada’s Communications Security Establishment (CSE) has also been the subject of some of his classified leaks. He’s also said that Canada’s intelligence gathering operations have the “weakest oversight” among western nations.

A Hollywood movie, directed by Oliver Stone and titled Snowden, is based the whistleblower’s life and focuses on his choice to reveal state secrets.

SecTor begins in Toronto Oct. 17.

 



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