The United States is "setting fire to the Internet," and the technology community is best positioned to "really fix things," fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden said in a live video appearance Monday at the South by Southwest conference.
Snowden, who leaked information about the National Security Agency's massive data surveillance program and subsequently sought asylum in Russia, spoke via Google with Christopher Soghoian, technologist at the ACLU.
Appearing in front of an image of the U.S. Constitution, Snowden defended his leaking of NSA data, which he said actually improved U.S. national security by exposing vulnerabilities. "America has more to lose than anyone else," the former NSA contractor said.
"I took an oath to protect the Constitution and I found there was a huge violation of the Constitution, and that's something the public ought to know," Snowden said. If the U.S. doesn't change its policies, it gives every other government the green light to treat their citizens' data the same way, he said.