Collective Intelligence Podcast, Bruce Schneier on Public-Interest Tech

Given the measure by which technology invades every aspect of our lives, the need to have technologists involved in crucial public-interest conversations is growing exponentially.

But that isn’t happening today at any kind of significant scale, and leaders such as Bruce Schneier are trying to change that.

Schneier, a cryptography pioneer, fellow, and lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy Business School, has taken up the cause of public-interest technology and is trying to bring awareness to the current state of affairs, and how not only security professionals but technologists in all fields can make a difference.

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In this episode of the Collective Intelligence Podcast, Schneier discusses how technologists can—and should feel an obligation to—make a difference. Schneier uses the analogy of public-interest law and would like to see technologists, beyond security and privacy professionals, carve out pro-bono time to assist marginalized communities or built software tools that are public-interest focused.

Schneier points out that the culture of public interest work that exists in the legal profession isn’t there in computer science.

“We very much need it in some guise, so what do we do to make that happen? We have to deal with the supply side—get more people who want to do this—and the demand side, which I think is a bigger problem. There aren’t places to go. If you want to be a public-interest technologist, there aren’t a lot of jobs out there” Schneier said. “There should be at least one of us on every Congressional staff, at all levels of local government, all federal and state agencies, all over the press, all over NGOs (non-governmental organizations).

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“If you are Human Rights Watch and you need to defend your network against China, that’s a big deal and you need a really serious security technologist working for you,” Schneier said. “And you’re not going to be able to pay what the big corporations can pay, yet the work you will be doing at Human Rights Watch will save lives and make the world better.”

The Collective Intelligence Podcast, presented by Flashpoint and hosted by Editorial Director Mike Mimoso, features regular interviews with a diverse set of industry experts and Flashpoint analysts on the latest information security news and industry trends.

Categories: Audio, Recorded Interviews

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.