Austin Forum


Tuesday, November 1, 2016 | Stateside Theater | 6:00pm

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Andrew Donoho
Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF)

Ryan Harkins

Admiral Bob Inman
UT Austin, LBJ School of Public Affairs

Sherri Greenberg, moderator
UT Austin, LBJ School of Public Affairs

Stateside Theater
719 Congress Ave.
Downtown Austin

5:15pm Doors and Cash Bar
6:00pm Presentation, Q&A
7:30pm Reception

Can digital privacy and freedom be reconciled? Should anyone expect privacy in the age of the Internet? What data should the government have access to in order to provide security for its citizens? What data should companies have access to and should they be able to use it and share it with other companies and the government?

In a world of smart phones, homes, buildings, and cars, the Internet follows you wherever you go. When you are online, your routine, location, and spending habits could potentially be tracked at all times. New technologies and an increased level of sharing one’s daily life via social media and GPS have led to privacy and information freedom dilemmas that confront consumers, the tech industry, retailers, and the government.

Privacy activists believe these new technologies require updates to the country’s privacy laws, and mass consumer surveillance should be heavily regulated. However, the US government maintains that access to personal digital data is sometimes necessary to protect life and keep people safe.

Increasingly, companies are willing to pay for information about their consumers to produce targeted advertisements. Spyware and tracking cookies collect data about your search history, your age, location, interests, friends, items you liked but didn’t purchase and the amount of time you spend on a website. And security activists argue that government access to personal data, including these digital habits and purchasing decisions, could prevent future terrorist attacks and keep Americans safe.

Learn more from experts in this friendly point/counterpoint about the intricacies of integrating privacy and security.


Andrew Donoho

Andrew Donoho

Ryan Harkin

Ryan Harkins

Bob Inman

Admiral Bob Inman

Sherri Greenberg

Sherri Greenberg, Moderator

Andrew Donoho writes commercial surveillance software; he brings a practitioner’s eye view to the issues surrounding digital privacy. As a member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation-Austin (EFF-Austin) board, he is active in promoting civil liberties and helping Austinites pragmatically understand digital security and privacy. In specific, he wrote the Silent Text v1.0 text messaging software and a cryptographically private location tracking system called Spot. He has been involved from the earliest days in various web standards, HTML and SVG. In light of recent Internet outages, he was deeply involved in standardizing UPnP, an internet of things standard deployed in everyone’s home today. Ask him about the “oven attack.”
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Ryan Harkins of Microsoft is Director of State Affairs and Public Policy for Microsoft where he serves as the lead lawyer on legislation and policy issues for Microsoft’s State Government Affairs team. Ryan helps lead the company’s state and federal work on student privacy and has testified before a number of legislatures. Prior to joining Government Affairs, Ryan served as the lead privacy lawyer for several Microsoft products and services, including Skype, Outlook, and Office. Ryan is an expert on issues that include consumer privacy, data breach and children’s privacy, and he serves as a Non-Resident Fellow with the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School.
Prior to joining Microsoft, Ryan worked as a litigator in Seattle and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Fred Van Sickle, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Washington. He holds a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and a J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law, where he served on the Washington Law Review and graduated with high honors and Order of the Coif.
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Admiral Bob Inman graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1950, and from the National War College in 1972. He became an adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Austin in 1987. He was appointed as a tenured professor holding the Lyndon B. Johnson Centennial Chair in National Policy in August 2001. He served as Interim Dean of the LBJ School of Public Affairs from 1 January to 31 December 2005 and again from January 2009 to March 2010.
Admiral Inman served in the U.S. Navy from November 1951 to July 1982, when he retired with the permanent rank of Admiral. While on active duty he served as Director of the National Security Agency and Deputy Director of Central Intelligence. After retirement from the Navy, he was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation (MCC) in Austin, Texas for four years and Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Westmark Systems, Inc., a privately owned electronics industry holding company for three years. Admiral Inman also served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas from 1987 through 1990.
Admiral Inman’s primary business activity since 1990 has been investing in start-up technology companies, where he is a Managing Director of Gefinor Ventures and of Limestone Capital Advisors. He serves as a Trustee of the American Assembly and the California Institute of Technology. He is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.
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Sherri Greenberg is a lecturer and Fellow of the Max Sherman Chair in State and Local Government. Her current teaching and research interests include: public finance and budgeting; public procurement and contracting; public pensions; online governance, transparency and civic engagement; campaigns and elections, state and local government; education and housing. Her recent publications are “Texas Financial Transparency: Open and Online”, “ Federal Lines of Business E-Government Initiatives: Progress and Effects”, “State E-Government Strategies: Identifying Best Practices and Applications” and “Beyond the Bid: An Evaluation of State and Local Government Procurement Practices.”
Greenberg served for 10 years as a member of the Texas House of Representatives, completing her final term in January 2001. In 1999, the Speaker of the House appointed her to chair the House Pensions and Investments Committee and to chair the Select Committee on Teacher Health Insurance. She served two terms on the House Appropriations Committee, and served on the Appropriations Committee’s Education, and Major Information Systems Subcommittees. Other committee assignments included the House Economic Development Committee, Elections Committee, and Science and Technology Committee.
As a public finance professional, Greenberg served as the Manager of Capital Finance for the City of Austin from 1985 to 1989, overseeing the City’s debt management, capital budgeting, and capital improvement programs. Prior to that she was a Public Finance Officer at Standard & Poor’s Corporation in New York, where she analyzed and assigned bond ratings to public projects across the country.
Professor Greenberg received an M.Sc. in Public Administration and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and a B.A. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin. Currently, she serves on the national board for the American Society for Public Administration and is a board member for the Section on Women in Public Administration, as well as a CenTex Chapter board member. Also, Greenberg is a board member of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Austin and an appointed member of the City of Austin General Obligation Housing Bond Review Committee.
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