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Snowden to speak on government spying at Texas video-conference

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[March 05, 2014]  AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) Former security contractor Edward Snowden, facing arrest if he steps foot on U.S. soil, will participate remotely in a panel discussion next week in Texas about governmental intrusion into privacy, conference organizers said on Tuesday.

Snowden, who is in Russia, will answer questions via video conference at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin on Monday on how the U.S. National Security Agency uses technology to keep tabs on people.

"Hear directly from Snowden about his beliefs on what the tech community can and must do to secure the private data of the billions of people who rely on the tools and services that we build," the organizers said.

Snowden fled to Hong Kong and then to Russia, where he currently has asylum. The White House wants him returned to the United States for prosecution.

Last year, Snowden, who had been working at an NSA facility as an employee of Booz Allen Hamilton, leaked a raft of secret documents that revealed a vast U.S. government system to monitor phone and internet data.

The leaks deeply embarrassed the Obama administration, which in January banned U.S. eavesdropping on the leaders of close friends and allies and began reining in the sweeping collection of Americans' phone data in a series of limited reforms triggered by Snowden's revelations.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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