Modern field guide to security and privacy

Meet Passcode's Influencers

Big thinkers vote in a regular survey on the most critical issues in security and privacy.

Jake Turcotte
Illustration for Passcode Influencers Poll.

The poles of debate are still forming in the Digital Age. There is no common philosophy defining what constitutes a "hawk" or a "dove" in cyberwar. International norms for countries' behavior on the Internet are not yet established. There's still no consensus about the appropriate balance between personal privacy and national security when it comes to government surveillance or private-sector encryption. Many companies and organizations are divided about the best defenses that will shield them from online attacks.

Passcode, The Christian Science Monitor's new section on security and privacy, formed an Influencers Poll to foster debate and discussion in this space. We regularly survey a wide swath of in-the-know experts about the most pressing issues – and share their answers and opinions with our readers.

To form our pool of Passcode Influencers, we gathered more than 160 experts from across government, the private sector, research, and the privacy advocacy community.

From government, they include the White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel, State Department Cybersecurity Coordinator Chris Painter, cochair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus Rep. Jim Langevin, and chairman of the House Cybersecurity Subcommittee John Ratcliffe. From the intelligence community, our pool includes two former National Security Agency directors, retired four-star Gens. Keith Alexander and Michael Hayden

We have heavy-hitter cybersecurity pros, including including In-Q-Tel chief information security officer Dan Geer, cryptologist Bruce Schneier, and inventor of the Domain Name System Paul Mockapetris – and senior security and privacy officials at major companies such as Google, Facebook, Visa, and Toyota. and we have key figures from the privacy community, including the incoming executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation Cindy Cohn and head of Center for Democracy and Technology Nuala O'Connor. You can explore the biographies of the experts in our elite group below.

Your opinion on these emerging issues matters, too.

These are not topics that should only be accessible to those working in government or industry, or have Computer Science degrees. That's why we will always have a companion readers poll after every Influencers survey, asking the same or a similar question of Passcode readers to see how close the experts' views and comments align with what the public thinks.

Who are the Influencers? 

Chris Ahlberg, Dave Aitel, Keith Alexander, Thad Allen, Dmitri Alperovitch, Janna Anderson, Stewart Baker, James Bamford, Kevin Bankston, Suzanne Barber, Caleb Barlow, Ann Barron-DiCamillo, Michael Beckerman, Alvaro Bedoya, Richard Bejtlich, John Bruce, Julie Brill, Charles Brooks, David Brumley, Eric Burger, Hilary Cain, Jon Callas, Ryan Calo, Daniel Castro, Jeffrey Carr, Steven Chabinsky, Amy Chang, Bobby Chesney, Frank Cilluffo, Cindy Cohn, Gabriella Coleman, Joshua Corman, Art Coviello, Lorrie Faith Cranor, Tom Cross, Chris Cummiskey, Michael Daniel, Neil Daswani, Christian Dawson, Mike DeCesare, Joel de la Garza, Chris Doggett, Phil Dunkelberger, Steve Durbin, Jenny Durkan, Nicole Eagan, Tor Ekeland, Keith Enright, Matthew Eggers, Victoria Espinel, Nate Fick, Chris Finan, Randall Fort, Camille Francois, Dan Geer, Harley Geiger, Anup Ghosh, Nathaniel Gleicher, Tsion Gonen, Bob Goodlatte, Rick Gordon, Jeremy Grant, Matthew Green, Jeff Greene, Renee Guttmann, Geoff Hancock, Robert Hansen, Jim Harper, Jack Harrington, Jason Hart, Michael Hayden, Jay Healey, Angela L. Heise, Jennifer Henley, Bill Hill, Chris Hopfensperger, Rick Howard, Trevor Hughes, Will Hurd, Rodney Joffe, Ely Kahn, Dan Kaminsky, Jay Kaplan, Jim Langevin, Robert Lee, Mike Leiter, Martin Libicki, Kris Lovejoy, Jane Holl Lute, Erel Margalit, Jeffrey Massimilla, Kevin Mahaffey, Andrea Matwyshyn, Sascha Meinrath, Stuart McClure, Angela McKay, Terrell McSweeny, Marten MickosCharlie Miller, Paul Mockapetris, Udi Mokady, HD Moore, Jeff Moss, Scott Montgomery, Katie Moussouris, Carey Nachenberg, Nuala O'Connor, Maureen Ohlhausen, Jacob Olcott, Günter Ollmann, Mike Papay, Christopher Painter, Tom Patterson, John Pescatore, Riana Pfefferkorn, Vikram Phatak, Jules Polonetsky, Andy Purdy, John Ratcliffe, Jonathan Reiber, Ellen Richey, Chris Riley, Space Rogue, Marc Rotenberg, Chris Rouland, Michael Samway, Julian Sanchez, Molly Sauter, Bruce Schneier, Ari Schwartz, Evan Selinger, Adam Segal, Nick Selby, Nico Sell, Teresa Shea, Lou Shipley, Peter Singer, Abigail Slater, Chris Soghoian, Ashkan Soltani, Dug Song, Gib Sorebo, Alex Stamos, Amie Stepanovich, Richard Stiennon, Robert Stratton, Michael Sulmeyer, Peter Swire, Melanie Teplinsky, Allen Thompson, JJ Thompson, Adam Tyler, Chris Valasek, John Watters, David Weinstein, Mark Weatherford, Steve Weber, Daniel Weitzner, Eric Wenger, Heather West, Tarah Wheeler, Nicole Wong, Chris Wysopal, Amit Yoran, Chris Young, Elana Zeide, Yan Zhu, and Jonathan Zittrain. 

Recent poll results

March 27, 2017: What is the most urgent cybersecurity or privacy challenge? 
What do you think? VOTE

February 1, 2017: Influencers: US should hit Russia harder for political hacks 
What do you think? VOTE.

November 21, 2016: Influencers: Trump won’t improve cybersecurity
What do you think? VOTE.

September 21, 2016: Influencers: Calling it ‘critical infrastructure’ won’t protect the vote
What do you think? VOTE.

July 13, 2016: Influencers: Antihacking law obstructs security research 
What do you think? VOTE.

May 9, 2016: Influencers oppose expanding federal hacking authorities 
What do you think? VOTE.

March 24, 2016: Influencers: FBI should disclose San Bernardino iPhone security hole to Apple 
What do you think? VOTE.

March 1, 2016: Influencers: Incoming federal CISO can improve US government’s cybersecurity 
What do you think? VOTE.

Feb. 19, 2016: Influencers: Apple should not help FBI crack San Bernardino iPhone 
What do you think? VOTE.

Jan. 27, 2016: Influencers: Tech firms should do more to block extremist content
What do you think? VOTE.

Nov. 20, 2015: Influencers: Paris attacks don’t justify government access to encryption 
What do you think? VOTE.

Nov. 10, 2015: Influencers: Europeans should be able to sue over data misuse in US 
What do you think? VOTE.

Oct. 20, 2015: Influencers: China’s arrests of hackers don’t prove commitment to stop economic espionage 
What do you think? VOTE.

Oct. 14, 2015: Influencers: Revise copyright law so researchers can tinker with car software 
What do you think? VOTE.

Sept. 29, 2015: Companies’ lawsuits to prevent the disclosure of vulnerabilities will chill security research, 74 percent of Influencers say 
What do you think? VOTE.

Sept. 16, 2015US should sanction China for economic espionage, 73 percent of Influencers say 
What do you think? VOTE.

June 29, 2015: OPM chief should be held responsible for breach, 84 percent of Influencers say 
What do you think? VOTE.

June 10, 2015: 77 percent of Influencers oppose US plan to limit export of software flaws 
What do you think? VOTE. 

May 6, 2015: Congress should end NSA bulk data collection, 72 percent of Influencers say 
What do you think? VOTE.

April 1, 2015: Companies should not be allowed to hack back, 82 percent of Influencers say 
What do you think? VOTE. 

March 11, 2015: Stronger encryption on consumer devices won't actually hurt national security, 73 percent of Influencers say
What do you think? VOTE.

Feb. 25, 2015: Obama's info-sharing plan won't significantly reduce security breaches, 87 percent of Influencers say
What do you think? VOTE.

How does the poll work?

Passcode regularly surveys the Influencers on a hot topic in the news. Their results are, by default, off-the-record. We tabulate the results in aggregate, and attribute their comments in a story we write about each poll simply as “an Influencer.”

However, Influencers also have an option to go on-the-record and post comments by name. We believe this opt-in method allows Influencers to vote and make comments candidly – but the option to take a stand publicly.

Once the results are in, we post the story and the results on Passcode and in our newsletter. Then, we announce a link to a public poll for readers to vote and leave comments on the same issue.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.