About this project

Let’s Talk Calmly About Security and Privacy is a mini-series podcast, with approximately 10 total episodes. Each episode features a one-on-one conversation with a colleague or friend of mine from the national security community or the digital freedom/government transparency community.

LTCASP was made possible by 71 Kickstarter backers and producer Jared Reed.

Why this project

I’ve spent the last 11 years working in two communities: civic technologists who believe their government should be doing more to protect innovation and technological freedom; and the U.S. Intelligence Community.

The past year has been interesting. My friends and colleagues in those communities are very polarized about the revelations of the U.S. Government’s surveillance activities: some people think broad collection of domestic telecom data is abhorrent and an existential threat to the Internet; other people think it’s routine practice that poses little threat to privacy and/or is an essential tool to protecting us.

Meanwhile, news coverage of these revelations has merely covered them, without forcing Americans to think about the difficult balance of privacy and security.

Coming from both communities, I want to bridge this gap. I want to see more constructive conversation between privacy advocates and the security community. Having my feet in both worlds, I think I can help. This project is my first attempt.

Coming from both communities, I will try to represent both sides of this argument when appropriate, gently counter-balancing the views of my guest. Most of my friends and colleagues are from outside the security community (and it’s harder for those inside it to discuss this topic publicly), so more often than not, I may come off as a defender of surveillance practices.

That said, the goal of this podcast is not to make you feel one way or another about this issue. The goal is to make you appreciate the difficulty of the problem, and take a more constructive, less hysterical approach toward solving it.