Nick is data engineer and recent law graduate. Since 1999 he has worked for a variety of different businesses including several Australian ISPs, the financial services industry and technology start-ups. He hopes to solve the impedance mismatch between law and technology by educating legal and tech professionals alike.
CA: You chose a niche career path marrying technology and law. What sparked your interest?
I’ve had a keen interest in technology ever since I was a kid. Its possibilities have always excited me. After completing my IT studies and working in industry for many years, I saw a lot of things that made me uncomfortable. I used to be an avid Slashdot reader, and there was always a good patent troll story on there to read which techies would go crazy over.
I had legal professional friends and family and when I’d mentioned things like the “Amazon one click” patent to them, they thought it was ok. The reasons behind how and why this could happen got me curious.
When I was looking at doing further studies following my undergrad I enrolled in a single law subject out of plain curiosity. I loved it and to my surprise it was interesting. After getting a taste for law with that first foundation subject, I became serious about it and went on to become a legal practitioner.
CA: How did you get involved in CryptoAUSTRALIA?
I met Gabor through Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA), an organisation I’ve been a member of since 2006. The EFA is largely an online community, they even hold their AGM on IRC.
Gabor’s meatspace events were something different. The EFA and Gabor organised a few joint events and they worked well.
It was at one of these events that Gabor and I started to talk about the concept behind the Privacy for Journalists workshop and website, which was essentially the precursor to our discussion about forming CryptoAUSTRALIA. We actually tossed a coin to decide the name of the organisation. The other name we could have been called was Privacy Peeps.
CA: What do you do for CryptoAUSTRALIA?
Primarily, I love attending events and being a nuisance to speakers. I’ve also been the fallback drink and snacks guy when we haven’t been able to get support from the event host. I helped set up the organisation with Gabor and Aiza, which meant lots of paperwork, and there’s still a lot more that needs to be done. I may run a workshop or present in the future and did a short talk at an event in 2016 on behalf of EFA about the election scorecard.
CA: What projects do you work on currently?
I’m working towards having our organisation registering with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) and I help out organising events, writing grant applications as well as arranging sponsorships.
CA: Studying, working and raising a family makes you a busy person. What are your motivations to do volunteer work on top of that?
From a privacy point of view, I feel society is heading in the wrong direction. Currently, there aren’t adequate legislative mechanisms to protect people’s privacy such as a tort of privacy in Australia. The general public often does not understand their existing rights and even if they do, they often don’t have the skills to protect it.
CryptoAUSTRALIA is a bottom-up organisation, other privacy organisations seem to be top-down, i.e. lobby governments for change.
Our aim is to help people protecting their privacy by educating them on the practical things they can do. Our hands-on workshops are tailored to specific audience groups with particular needs, from everyday citizens to industry professionals.
We want to take people as far as legally possible to help them protect their own privacy. Some of it is common sense - like what to post and not to post to social media. Some of it requires technical know-how, such as finding the right software, setting up encryption etc. We use our technical expertise to help reduce this complexity by making this information digestible and useful in the most practical sense possible.
This is the fifth of a series of articles introducing the members of CryptoAUSTRALIA
Peter Borbely is a technically skilled, content oriented and commercially astute digital media professional with over a decade experience across both the commercial and editorial floors