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Edward Snowden to speak at UA event

Posted at 4:25 PM, Mar 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-18 22:54:53-04
He's been called a whistleblower, a hero and even a traitor. But no matter what you think of Edward Snowden, you now have the opportunity to hear him speak live. 
 
The University of Arizona will hold a panel discussion next Friday where former NSA contractor Snowden will video conference in from Russia. Snowden is known for revealing top secret information about the government's surveillance programs. 
 
In 2013, Snowden released thousands of classified NSA documents to three journalists. One journalist later produced a documentary on the story called 'Citizenfour' that won an Oscar last year.
 
It was during a discussion about that documentary that the idea came up to have Snowden speak at the University of Arizona
 
The event will take place March 25 at Centennial Hall and is called "A Conversation on Privacy." It's presented by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. 
 
David Cuillier is the director of the School of Journalism and said the discussion will also include Glenn Greenwald, one of the journalists originally contacted by Snowden and Noam Chomsky, a world renowned political activist. 
 
"I haven't seen any university that's had all three of them together," said Cuillier. "So this will be unique."
 
Cuillier says it was relatively easy to secure Snowden for the event as Snowden has often spoke publicly about what he did, including in a humorous interview with Last Week Tonight Host John Oliver last year in Russia, where Snowden is currently seeking asylum.
 
"What you don't want is you don't want them spying inside your own country," said Snowden during the interview. "Spies are great when they're on our side but we can never forget that they're incredibly powerful and incredibly dangerous and if they're off the leash they can end up coming after us."
 
Cuillier says he believes a lot of the upcoming discussion will interest Southern Arizonans.
 
"It's about balancing our security and fighting terrorism with our personal privacy," he said. "I mean anyone who has a cell phone or email account is affected by this...and the chance that we have folks to be able to talk about it is great." 
 
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There are still about 600 tickets available for the event. For more information, click here.