Expert Panel Explores Tech Policy at the White House

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On March 2, EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn sat down with Alexander Macgillivray and Nicole Wong, both former U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officers (CTO) under President Obama as well as former legal counsel for Google and Twitter. The panel explored the development of the Obama administration’s policies on the Internet, intellectual property, and digital privacy and speculated on the future of the White House CTO position under President Trump. On March 3rd, we learned that Peter Thiel's former chief of staff Michael Kratsios will be stepping in to the role formerly held by Macgillivray and Wong. 

Both panelists underscored the contributions that technologists can make in civil service and that law and policymakers need informed voices in the room and at the table. "It's incumbent upon [the tech community] to start engaging" said Wong. "I think the technical talent within government is getting much better" and part of that comes from convening the right people within government agencies—including those who are more technologically sophisticated—who understand the issues at stake.

Macgillivray also stressed the impact that the tech community at large can have on government policy, stating "the engineering community, as it becomes more powerful, will be able to exercise more moral and political muscle."

Watch below for the full discussion touching upon diverse digital civil liberties issues including net neutrality, device searches at the border, predictive policing algorithms, and more:

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