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SXSW Interactive lands a big one: Wikileaks founder plans Austin appearance

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is scheduled to speak via satellite at SXSW Interactive. Photo courtesy of

SXSW Interactive in Austin is already building plenty of buzz, with weekly lineup announcements for speakers and special guests. But the latest reveal is about as buzzworthy as you can get.

Julian Assange, the political activist who founded the highly controversial website WikiLeaks, will conduct a live conversation at SXSW Interactive on Saturday, March 8. Because he is currently living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London under political asylum, he will conduct the public address via satellite feed.

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. He joins Benjamin Palmer, co-founder of digital creative agency Barbarian Group, for the conversation.

The schedule of speakers for SXSW Interactive is shaping up to be rather eclectic, including a keynote address from astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. And Assange won’t be the only prominent figure in political activism and government transparency; 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.

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