SXSW Interactive is already building plenty of buzz with weekly lineup announcements for speakers and special guests, but the latest reveal is about as buzzworthy — and controversial — as you can get.
Julian Assange, the Australian journalist and political activist who founded the highly controversial website WikiLeaks, will conduct a live conversation at SXSW Interactive on Saturday, March 8. Since Assange is currently living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London under political asylum due to an outstanding arrest warrant for sexual assault charges in Sweden, Assange will conduct the public address via satellite feed.
Assange will likely discuss the ongoing issues of pervasive surveillance both in the U.S. and abroad, as well as the state of democracy in the digital age.
Since releasing classified U.S. State Department diplomatic cables and documents regarding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the detainment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Assange has been largely viewed as persona non grata by the United States and some allied governments. It is likely that Assange will discuss the ongoing issues of pervasive surveillance both in the U.S. and abroad, as well as the state of democracy in the digital age.
Assange is scheduled to speak alongside Benjamin Palmer, co-founder of The Barbarian Group, a digital creative agency.
The schedule of speakers announced for SXSW Interactive is shaping up to be very eclectic, including the announcement of a keynote address from astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. And Assange won’t be the only prominent figure in political activism and government transparency considering journalist Glenn Greenwald is also scheduled to speak. In 2013, Greenwald was involved in breaking the story of Edward Snowden and the scope of the NSA’s scale of surveillance in America.