Edward Snowden snuck a little jab at the government into his appearance at SXSW Interactive on Monday.
Asked if it was just a matter of time before the government could decrypt even the best encryption, the former National Security Agency contractor held up his own case as evidence that encryption works to protect data from surveillance.
“The United States government has assembled a massive investigative team” to look into him and his leak of top secret NSA documents, Snowden said. “And they still have no idea what documents were provided to the journalists, what they have, what they don’t have. Because encryption works.”
Snowden also suggested that encryption has kept the documents he leaked out of the hands of foreign governments, like Russia and China.
Snowden was speaking via satellite video with Christopher Soghoian, the American Civil Liberties Union’s principal technologist. The conversation was moderated by Ben Wizner, the director of the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy & Technology Project and Snowden’s legal advisor.