NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden will appear in Vancouver via live weblink for a keynote speech on technology and human rights.

The SFU-hosted event, Edward Snowden: Big Data, Security and Human Rights, will take place April 5 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

A panel discussion featuring experts from SFU and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association will be moderated by senior CBC correspondent and host, Laura Lynch.

Audience members will be able to pose questions during the discussion via Twitter.

Snowden is a controversial figure. Documents he leaked to the Guardian newspaper in 2013 revealed the U.S. government has programs in place to spy on almost everything that hundreds of millions of people do online, including emails, social networking posts, online chat histories, phone calls and texts.

Hailed by some as a civil rights hero, others condemn him as a traitor who compromised national security. He is wanted by the U.S. government on espionage charges.

He became stranded in a Moscow airport in 2013 on his way from Hong Kong to Cuba, shortly after he released extensive documentation about the NSA's surveillance programs. Russia has since granted him asylum, attracting the ire of the U.S. 

Snowden has said he would be willing to return to the U.S. if he could be guaranteed a fair trial but doesn't believe that would be possible.