Every year, tens of thousands of people swarm to Austin, Texas for SXSW Interactive – one of the biggest annual gatherings of technologists, activists, and entrepreneurs in the country.

Here at R Street, we think this is a great opportunity to promote free-market ideas and interact with the broader policy community and its stakeholders. But the landscape of events can be hard to navigate, especially with so many sessions of dubious interest to the policy wonk (e.g. “Better Living Through Minecraft,” “Speed Date Your Way to Massive Social Impact“).

To help remedy this problem, I’ve combed through the schedule for the best policy-focused events so you don’t have to. Check out my full guide below. Think I’m missing something? Let me know.

The “(★)” indicates a member of Congress will be participating. The “(R)” designates an R Street-sponsored event.


12:30-1:30pm: Your Laws, Your Data: Making Government More Open (R) • Convention Center, Room 10AB

3:30-4:30pm: Commercial Threats to Freedom of Speech Online • Convention Center, Room 10AB

5:00-6:00pm: Streams, Shuffles and Statutes: Congress and Music (★) • Convention Center, Room 18ABCD


9:30-10:30am: Politics of Innovation: DC, Tech Working Together (★) • Omni, Capital Ballroom

11:00-12:00pm: Can Washington Protect the Net Economy? (★) • Omni, Capital Ballroom

12:30-1:30pm: Net Infrastructure: The Economy’s Hidden Backbone (★) • Omni, Capital Ballroom

2:00-3:00pm: The Cake is Not a Lie: Gamers and the US Workforce (★) • Omni, Capital Ballroom

3:30-4:30pm: Making Sense of the Competitive Comms Landscape (★) • Omni, Capital Ballroom

5:00-6:00pm: The Future of Privacy (★) • JW Marriott, Salon 8

5:00-6:00pm: Re-imagining Privacy for Consumers and Developers (★) • Omni, Capital Ballroom

5:00-7:00pm: CDT & R Street Policy Happy Hour (R) • 238 W 2nd St


9:30-10:30am: How Big Data Can Transform Poverty Policy (★) (R) • Convention Center, Room 10AB

9:30-10:30am: Privacy Matters: Baking Privacy into Your Apps • JW Marriott, Salon 7

9:30-10:30am: Friend or Foe? How Government Impacts Startups • Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon E

11:00-12:00pm: Give Me Your Data, but Stay Away From Mine! • JW Marriott, Room 404

11:00-12:00pm: How Public Policy Protects Patents and Startups • Convention Center, Room 10AB

12:30-12:50pm: IoT Decoded: Sensors, Small Data and Social Change • Convention Center, Ballroom G

1:15-1:30pm: The Bitcoin Opportunity • Convention Center, Ballroom C

3:30-4:30pm: Legal Hackers: A Global Movement to Reform the Law • Convention Center, Room 10AB

5:00-6:00pm: When Should Privacy Trump Free Speech? (R) • JW Marriott, Salon 8

5:00-6:00pm: Millennials: The Unstoppable Force (★) • Convention Center, Room 10AB


9:30-10:30am: What’s Next? Surveillance Reform Post-Snowden • JW Marriott, Salon 4

11:00-12:00pm: Operation Choke Point and Alternative Currencies • Convention Center, Room 10AB

11:00-12:00pm: The Changing Privacy Landscape • JW Marriott, Salon 4

12:30-1:30pm: Disruptive Innovators Under Attack • Hilton, Salon E


9:00am-4:30pm: Innovation Policy Day • 301 East 6th St

9:30-10:30am: The Future of the Internet – How Open is Open? • IPD

11:00-12:00pm: Our Bytes, Our Digital Selves: What Privacy Means Now • IPD

11:00-12:00pm: Putting Policymakers to Work For You • Convention Center, Room 10AB

12:30-1:30pm: Battles at Home: Protecting the Sharing Economy • IPD

2:00-3:00pm: Patent Reform: It is Time to Finish the Job • IPD

3:30-4:30pm: Skilled Labor, Green Cards, and H-1B Visas, Oh My • IPD

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