Cybersecurity experts to discuss delicate balance between data sharing, privacy

Johns Hopkins to host speakers from government, business, academia

In its efforts to curb criminal activity, should the government be allowed to see confidential consumer data collected by businesses? Or does the right to privacy trump such intrusions?

These complex questions will be the focus of the second annual Senior Executive Cyber Security Conference, to be held Sept. 10 at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Registration for the daylong event is under way. Early-bird discount prices are in effect through Aug. 15.

The conference, which will feature speakers from government, the business community, and academia, is sponsored by the university's Whiting School of Engineering, its Information Security Institute, and by Comprehensive Applied Security Solutions (COMPASS).

A particular focus of the event will be current proposals that would give the federal government access to corporate computing systems. The goal would be to help thwart or capture cybercriminals who hack into private systems to steal credit card numbers and other valuable customer or employee data. But some experts are worried that opening this digital door could also give the government access to sensitive details about a company's data management infrastructure and other proprietary information.

"Striking a comfortable balance between sharing information with the government and preserving the privacy of consumers and businesses is a very challenging task and an ongoing source of debate," said Anton Dahbura, executive director of Johns Hopkins' Information Security Institute. "Should private businesses be required to share their digital records with the government to help prevent data breaches? How can we be sure the government won't misuse or mishandle this data? This conference is designed to explore questions like these."

Featured speakers will include:

  • Hodding Carter III, renowned journalist and author, co-author of "After Snowden: Privacy, Secrecy, and Security in the Information Age"
  • Ari Schwartz, Senior Director of Cybersecurity, National Security Council at the White House
  • Curtis Levinson, U.S. Cyber Defense Advisor to NATO and private consultant to firms such as Nike, Mercedes Benz, J.P. Morgan, and DuPont
  • Roberta Anderson, partner and co-founder, K&L Gates LLP
  • Robyn Greene, policy council, Surveillance and Cyber Security Issues, New America Foundation
  • Michael Echols, director, Joint Program Management Office National Protection and Program Directorate, Office of Cybersecurity and Communications, Department of Homeland Security
  • Bob Butler, senior advisor, The Chertoff Group
  • Matt Green, research professor, Johns Hopkins University Information Security Institute

More details on the event and a link to the online registration site are at