Exploring opportunities for infosec pros to use their skills to fight for social change

RSA Conference has teamed up with cybersecurity expert Bruce Schneier and the Ford Foundation to host the first full-day Public Interest Technologist Track, Bridging the Gap: Cybersecurity + Public Interest Tech, during RSA Conference 2019 in San Francisco.

rsac bridging the gap

Set to take place March 7, 2019, the event consists of six sessions highlighting public interest technologists inside governments, as part of civil society, at universities, and in corporate environments.

“All security policy issues have strong technology components, and if policy makers get the technology aspect wrong, we just won’t get the policy right,” said Schneier, Fellow and Lecturer, Harvard Kennedy School. “Regulators, policy makers and civil society have a dire need for technology expertise, and I’m calling all technologists to play a part by using their tech skills to change the world for the better.”

The full-day track will explore how work in cybersecurity is inexorably intertwined with public policy and the public interest. Whether it’s debates on encryption or vulnerability disclosure, or part of policy discussions about a variety of topics like IoT and AI, public interest technology is a field primed for growth. Through this track, attendees will look at how public interest tech is already changing the way power is distributed, and how decisions are made across public policy, philanthropic organizations, and Silicon Valley board rooms. Attendees will walk away with clear steps to take action and get involved.

“The Ford Foundation has a legacy of helping different professions recognize how they can contribute to the public interest, and we are working with experts like Bruce to develop a path for this vital new field of public interest tech,” said Michael Brennan, Program Officer, Internet Freedom, Ford Foundation. “We need people working at the intersection of technology and the public interest in every sector, industry, and field, and this track at RSA Conference is the first of its kind to engage cybersecurity professionals in this mission.”

“RSA Conference exists to bring the people in the cybersecurity arena together for influential conversations and ongoing education that moves the industry forward and improves our world,” said Sandra Toms, Vice President and Curator of RSA Conference. “This full-day track with the Ford Foundation and Bruce allows us to do just that, and we are excited to be a part of getting this information in front of both experienced and emerging cyber professionals.”

Open to full conference badge holders, and College Day and Security Scholars participants, the Bridging the Gap: Cybersecurity + Public Interest Tech track includes the following sessions and experts:

  • How Public Interest Technologists are Changing the World: Matt Mitchell, Tactical Tech; Bruce Schneier, Fellow and Lecturer, Harvard Kennedy School; and J. Bob Alotta, Astraea Foundation (Moderator)
  • Public Interest Tech in Silicon Valley: Mitchell Baker, Chairwoman, Mozilla Corporation; Cindy Cohn, EFF; and Lucy Vasserman, Software Engineer, Google
  • Working in Civil Society: Sarah Aoun, Digital Security Technologist; Peter Eckersley, Partnership on AI; Harlo Holmes, Director of Newsroom Digital Security, Freedom of the Press Foundation; and John Scott-Railton, Senior Researcher, Citizen Lab
  • Government Needs You: Travis Moore, TechCongress; Hashim Mteuzi, Senior Manager, Network Talent Initiative, Code for America; Gigi Sohn, Distinguished Fellow, Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy; and Ashkan Soltani, Independent Consultant, Soltani LLC
  • Changing Academia: Latanya Sweeney, Harvard and Danny Weitzner, MIT CSAIL
  • The Future of Public Interest Tech: Bruce Schneier, Fellow and Lecturer, Harvard Kennedy School; Ben Wizner, ACLU; and Jenny Toomey, Director, Internet Freedom, Ford Foundation (Moderator)
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