This article was published originally on Metro News on February 17, 2016.

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to speak in Vancouver

By Thandi Fletcher, February 17, 2016,

National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden will speak to Vancouverites via web-link about the power and perils of big data at an event hosted by Simon Fraser University in April.

The former CIA employee, who now lives in exile in Russia, will be the keynote speaker at the event, taking place April 5 at Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Snowden, hailed by some as a hero and others as a traitor or criminal, made headlines in 2013 when he leaked top secret information about surveillance activities conducted by the NSA regarding telecom data.

“Snowden is a transformative figure in the field of big data,” SFU communication professor Catherine Murray said in a news release. “No other leak was of this scale, this importance to global and national security, and this revealing of the degree of challenges to privacy that big data may pose.”

Murray said she expects Snowden to speak about how big data practices are rapidly evolving within corporations and governments, the lack of change that has been achieved since his leaks, and to suggest actions that citizens can employ to protect their information online.

Audience members will be able to ask Snowden questions following his talk during a discussion, moderated by CBC senior correspondent Laura Lynch, with other expert panellists from SFU and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

The event is being hosted by SFU’s Public Square, in partnership with the SFU President’s Dream Colloquium on Big Data.

Tickets, which are $20 for adults and $10 for seniors and students, are available online.