SXSW isn’t just about music; it’s a cultural hub for forward-minded individuals, giving them the chance to converge and share ideas and experiences. Today (moments ago, in fact, depending on when you’re reading this) the Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden spoke via video link from Russia to an SXSW crowd about the increasingly controversial subject of Government surveillance.

Julian AssangeJulian Assange and Edward Snowden Have Been Giving Video Link Talks at SXSW

USA Today has a handy transcript of the conversation, edited for your reading pleasure over on their site. In the talk, Snowden talked about his motives for disclosing classified documents, which revealed the extent to which the NSA were had the American people under unprecedented levels of surveillance.

"What I wanted to do was to inform the public so they could make a decision for what we should be doing,” Snowden said, adding that, "every society has benefited" from the disclosures. On whether he would do this again? "Absolutely, yes. I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution, and I saw that the Constitution was being violated on a massive scale," says Snowden.

More SXSW: Introducing Skaters, because it really is about the music.

On surveillance, a debate to which Snowden has contributed considerably, he said: "Data should not be collected without peoples' knowledge or consent." Snowden then spoke highly of encryption services like full disk encryption to protect devices if they're seized, network encryption and plug-ins such as NoScript. He testified to the effectiveness of these methods, using himself as an example.

Another considerable player in the transparency of date and surveillance debate, Julian Assange, has also been giving video talks at SXSW. “We have to do something about it. All of us have to do something about it," he said, claiming that the NSA have become a rogue agent. “How can individuals do something about it? Well, we’ve got no choice."