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NSA leaker Snowden says has no regrets for leaks

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Jack Plunkett / Invision / AP

Edward Snowden talks during a simulcast conversation at the SXSW Interactive Festival on Monday, March 10, 2014, in Austin, Texas. Snowden talked with American Civil Liberties Union’s principal technologist Christopher Soghoian and answered tweeted questions.

Updated Monday, March 10, 2014 | 5:17 p.m.

AUSTIN, Texas — National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden says he has no regrets about revealing the agency's mass surveillance program.

Snowden spoke Monday via live video conference to a packed audience at the South By Southwest Interactive Festival.

The former NSA contractor, who remains in Moscow living in temporary asylum, faces felony charges in the U.S. after leaking thousands of classified documents to media outlets.

Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union, spoke to Snowden from the Austin, Texas, event along with Snowden's legal adviser, the ACLU's Ben Wizner.

Snowden touched on a number of issues in the hourlong conversation. He dispensed advice on how U.S. citizens can keep their web-surfing activities more private by using a free service called Tor, which encrypts web traffic. He also called on the technology industry to create more software and services that help guard individual privacy.

He appeared to have no regrets about exposing the U.S. government's surveillance methods.

"And when it comes to would I do this again, the answer is absolutely yes," he told the audience.

"I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution, and I saw that the Constitution was violated on a massive scale," he added.

The ACLU offered a live blog of Snowden's talk on its website and the Texas Tribune's website hosted a live video stream.

Fugitive WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange spoke at the SXSW conference in a similar manner on Saturday. Assange is living in asylum at the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

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