Edward Snowden announced as EiM’s next guest speaker

Image credit: Freedom of the Press Association

Edward Snowden, the CIA whistleblower, is set to appear via video link at Cambridge University Ethics in Mathematics Society’s (EiM) next meeting on Wednesday.

Revealed yesterday as the society’s “secret speaker”, Snowden was granted temporary asylum in Moscow by the Russian government back in 2013. He is currently wanted by US authorities on two counts of espionage and one charge of theft of government property.

During his time as an employee of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Snowden was able to collect classified National Security Agency (NSA) files revealing the extent of CIA surveillance on ordinary Americans via Internet and telephone. Snowden has been hailed as a true patriot, though he has also faced extensive criticism, labelling him a traitor.

EiM members were informed of a “secret speaker” via email, in an event the society has dubbed “the biggest event of the year”. Mathematicians were invited to decipher the name of the speaker, only given in code: 3yK0czBI93E2 VuWVEuXggw.

Snowden is not the first EiM speaker to attract controversy for the mathematics society. Last year’s roster of speakers included Wikileaks’ Editor-in-Chief, Julian Assange, who also appeared via video link.

Assange is currently seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for his own work for Wikileaks. He is also wanted for unverified charges made against him relating to sexual assault.

The EiM Society aims to “help mathematicians to understand that their work, output, insight and labour can be used not only for good, but also for bad”, according to their webpage.

The Society has been contacted for comment.


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