Edward Snowden, a former U.S. National Security Agency contractor who leaked details of major U.S. surveillance programs, called on supporters at a hacking conference to spur development of easy-to-use technologies to subvert government surveillance programs. Snowden, who addressed conference attendees on Saturday via video link from Moscow, said he intends to devote much of his time to promoting such technologies, including ones that allow people to communicate anonymously and encrypt their messages.
You in this room, right now have both the means and the capability to improve the future by encoding our rights into programs and protocols … That is what a lot of my future work is going to be involved in.
At the HOPE hacking conference, several talks detailed approaches for thwarting government surveillance, including a system known as SecureDrop that is designed to allow people to anonymously leak documents to journalists. Snowden is seen as a hero by a large segment of the community of hackers attending the HOPE conference, which includes computer experts, anti-surveillance activists, artists and other types of hackers.