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Edward Snowden has mastered the art of teleconferencing

Edward Snowden speaks at a conference in Lisbon.
Reuters/Rafael Marchante
Sought-after speaker.
  • Anne Quito
By Anne Quito

Design and architecture reporter


In 2014, Edward Snowden whizzed through the corridors of the Vancouver Convention Center, appearing ecstatic from a well-received surprise appearance at the TED conference. Embodied in a serviceable telepresence robot (aka the “Snowbot”), his name badge read: “Talk to me about: mass surveillance, encryption, civic duty.”

Less than a year after the US government charged him with espionage,  the exiled NSA whistleblower had become the world’s most sought after virtual speaker—and one of the most skilled.

As video meetings become a fixture of our work life, the ability to give remote presentations has become an important skill. Coaches suggest looking to news anchors and talking heads for pointers, but Snowden, who’s had six years of practice dialing in remotely from his apartment in Moscow, offers a more nuanced model for DIY Zoomers.

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