Hidden deep within the RSA conference, and in a timeslot that pitted it against vendor keynotes on the main stage, was a single session that for me, defined my RSA Conference experience this year. The session was a panel event titled “Watching the Watchers,” and it included a who’s who of government privacy leaders.
Ari Schwartz, director of cyber-security privacy at the White House, moderated the panel. Joining him were Karen Neuman, chief privacy officer at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, as well as Erika Brown Lee, chief privacy and civil liberties officer in the U.S. Department of Justice. The final participant was Alexander Joel, civil liberties protection officer in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
The Snowden disclosures have led the public to believe through myriad reports that privacy is not valued by the U.S. government and in particular the NSA. The government privacy officers on stage at RSA don’t hold that view. It is the job of those privacy officers to protect our privacy.