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
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: Edward Snowden_ Here’s how we take back the Internet
Chris Anderson: The rights of citizens, the future of the Internet. So I would like to welcome to the TED stage the man behind those revelations, Ed Snowden.
Ed is in a remote location somewhere in Russia controlling this bot from his laptop, so he can see what the bot can see. Ed, welcome to the TED stage. What can you see, as a matter of fact?
Edward Snowden: Ha, I can see everyone. This is amazing.
Chris Anderson: Ed, some questions for you. You’ve been called many things in the last few months. You’ve been called a whistleblower, a traitor, a hero. What words would you describe yourself with?
Edward Snowden: You know, everybody who is involved with this debate has been struggling over me and my personality and how to describe me. But when I think about it, this isn’t the question that we should be struggling with.
Who I am really doesn’t matter at all. If I’m the worst person in the world, you can hate me and move on. What really matters here are the issues. What really matters here is the kind of government we want, the kind of Internet we want, the kind of relationship between people and societies. And that’s what I’m hoping the debate will move towards, and we’ve seen that increasing over time. If I had to describe myself, I wouldn’t use words like “hero.” I wouldn’t use “patriot,” and I wouldn’t use “traitor.” I’d say I’m an American and I’m a citizen, just like everyone else.