Delusions of Advocacy

Guest Column by Jeff Jonas > I actually thought I was a privacy advocate for about a month. This belief became very short lived following a lengthy conversation with EPIC’s general counsel David Sobel, now at EFF.

His perspective was so deep and substantial that I immediately and publicly announced a self-demotion to simply that of a "student" of privacy and civil liberties protections.

The other life tension in this area is that I design real systems for real organizations with real privacy implications. And this means that as I learn more as a student of privacy, sometimes I see things in my twenty-plus year rear view mirror that I "could have done better."

This is especially true in the area of process and policy. So the best I hope for in these circumstances is to not make the same mistake twice.

As more technologists engage the privacy community, one hoped-for outcome will be more responsible innovations. But I also expect these same technologists will have to wrestle with past creations.

In my view, this is an important and necessary area of personal reinvention, especially for practitioners in the technology field.

Postings on this site don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

Jeff Jonas is the chief scientist of IBM Software Group’s Threat and Fraud Intelligence unit and works on technologies designed to maximize enterprise awareness. Jeff also spends a large chunk of his time working on privacy and civil liberty protections. He will be writing a series of guest posts for Netcrime Blog.

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