the digital equilibrium project

What is the goal of this project?
Our goal is to begin a constructive dialogue about the relationship between privacy and security.  We want all stakeholders of varying opinions to come together (privacy advocates, industry groups, and government representatives) to develop and advance solutions where we can have alignment and reach common ground. We are looking to create a new equilibrium- in the dialogue of privacy and security.

How were the members of the project selected? 
The members are individuals. In discussing the problem, a few of us realized that people were talking past one another. All too often the discussion and debate happens over social media and in the press, which only leads to increased polarization.  To advance solutions, we believe a face-to-face dialogue is needed. We also realized we were guilty of our own biases. To broaden the discussion, we reached out to others who had expertise and backgrounds representing the various constituencies. It is by no means meant to be exclusive. On the contrary, the initiative calls on a number of representative groups from all sides to come together.  All interested parties are welcome to contribute.  For more information, please contact us. 

While the group is predominantly made up of Americans, it is not because we believe this is a U. S. problem only- or that it can be solved entirely within the borders of any one nation.  But, we felt that the problem here, given our overwhelming reliance on digital technology and where the debate has been so divisive, was a good place to start. By starting where the debate is perhaps most acrimonious, we hope to spark a dialogue that is global in scope.

What is purpose of the paper?

We wanted to begin with a discussion paper that would help people understand what is at stake, why this dialogue is so important, why we need all sides represented, and finally offer a working definition of the problem, broken down into sub-segments for easier follow-up action.

We want everyone’s thoughts and comments on the paper and view it as the opening round of a process. It will serve as a living document that will help guide the agenda.

What activities will the project undertake?
We plan to start the initial discussion of the paper at the RSA Conference. Following the conference, we hope to expand the number of contributors to include leading organizations from the various constituencies (privacy advocacy organizations, industry groups, policy organizations, and government representatives), with the goal of coming together in mid-2016 to start crafting a framework that can serve as the foundation for sound decisions and policymaking around these issues. We want to see it become conventional wisdom that a collaborative approach is the only way forward and that all sides see the value of working together through civil, respectful dialogue focusing on areas where we can align and reach common ground. 

Why are you launching this project now?
We believe that the current acrimonious debate that too often pits privacy against security has only lead us to a situation where we have less privacy and security. This doesn’t need to be the case. Without changing the dynamic of this important discussion to a collaborative approach, we are headed for social, economic, and potentially physical catastrophe.

Where does funding for this project come from?
Meaningful funding has not been required to date, and the participants have self-funded all required activities such as travel and materials. We are hoping that the work will be taken over by diverse organizations representing the various constituencies that have the resources to bear to continue this important work.


Frequently Asked Questions