Bruce Schneier takes his pitch for public-interest security to RSA Conference

New, full-day Public-Interest Technologist track at the RSA Conference to focus on security pro bono work.

It's time for tech to grow a conscience.

That's Bruce Schneier's message at this year’s RSA Conference. Just as lawyers are expected to engage in pro bono work if they want to make partner at a major law firm, so too should security professionals be expected to spend time helping secure vulnerable groups, such as non-profits, human rights workers, journalists and other voices of conscience in society. Schneier, an internationally recognized security technologist, will explore this idea during an all-day track at RSA on Thursday, March 7.

"I would like to see an ecosystem where if you are going to be a senior manager in cybersecurity, you will have been expected to do some work in the public interest," Schneier tells CSO.

Working in public-interest technology will also give security folks perspective outside of the enterprise, and in the long run result in better government policy. Just as an attorney who does pro bono work defending illegal immigrants is better-informed to help reform our national immigration policy, Schneier argues, so too will security folks who spend time defending human rights workers be better informed to develop national encryption and surveillance policy.

"These skills, once you get them, will be valued by future employers," he says. "If you take two years off and go do cybersecurity for Greenpeace, you're going to have a ton of experience that's super valuable."

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