Sean O’Brien is a visiting lecturer at Yale Law School and the founder of the Privacy Lab initiative. He’s also the chief technology officer at Panquake. In addition to teaching cybersecurity at Yale, he’s developed courses on Web3 and blockchain. He was the founding head tutor at Oxford University’s Cybersecurity for Business Leaders programme. His expertise has been featured in major media outlets like The New York Times and Wired.
I highly recommend joining Panquake, especially because it’s still in its developmental phase.
CIA and whistleblowing
John Kiriakou is a journalist and former CIA counterterrorism officer who gained notoriety for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s torture programme in 2007. He revealed that torture was an official U.S. policy, approved by then-President George W. Bush. As a result, he was indicted under the Espionage Act and served 23 months in prison. Kiriakou has received several awards for his courage and integrity.
Cybersecurity isn’t just about fending off hackers; it’s also about safeguarding individual privacy from corporations – and governments – that have made it their business to know yours. Big Tech companies collect extensive data on internet users, justifying this surveillance as a means for ‘personalisation’ or ‘security‘.
Should the state have secrets?
Conversely, the issue of state overreach under the banner of ‘national security’ is equally worrying. The indictment and imprisonment of whistleblowers highlight the lengths to which the state will go to protect its ‘secrets’, even when those secrets involve violations of human rights and international law.
In the current zeitgeist where the lines between Big Tech surveillance and state secrecy blur, a more transparent and ethical approach becomes increasingly vital in safeguarding both personal and societal freedoms.