An Interview with Austin Kraft

Austin is the newest member of Ethyca’s marketing team. We sat down to ask him a few questions about work, life, and words to live by.

In civilian words, how would you describe your job?

For me, it boils down to sparking important and informed conversations about privacy. I research and write about privacy issues to help people navigate a complex web of regulations and new technology. I also create resources to inform businesses about how Ethyca can support them in protecting users’ data.

On that note, what are your go-to resources for keeping up to date on Ethyca’s industry?

I appreciate the International Association of Privacy Professional’s coverage on privacy  issues faced by both businesses and users. TechCrunch, CISO Magazine, and Compliance Weekly’s articles on data privacy help me empathize with a variety of stakeholders in privacy, like executives and end-users.

Beyond more research, what do you do when you’re feeling uninspired?

Reading and running! I never underestimate the value of a change in scenery. Spending just a few minutes away from a project – even if it’s to pivot to a different work task – can provide some great clarity. I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that many writers are also runners. Nothing beats getting a fantastic idea while running outside.

Great hobbies for a pandemic! Speaking of which, have you picked up any new skills or gotten into any new interests this past year stuck inside?

I’ve had the chance to play piano way more than I could before the pandemic. I’ve also been getting into handwritten letters to friends and just handwriting in general – maybe in subconscious response to so much digital communication? I have grown to truly enjoy a good pen.

Do you have any causes you care a lot about? Privacy being a given, of course.

For sure! In extension of my work in business- and user-level privacy, I think a lot about tech policy/development outside of the US and Europe, where it’s most often a topic of discussion. Trained as a linguist but also attuned to privacy conversations, I recognize how important it is for communities to have tech that works for them: tech that’s in their language, that has a keyboard with their alphabet, that has culturally relevant imagery/graphics. And that aim is only sustainably achieved when the communities using the tech are empowered to make that tech. This area definitely overlaps with privacy, but it also touches on a wider tech and economic infrastructure.

If you had 30 minutes with anyone in the world to discuss tech policy with, who’d it be?

Magrethe Vestager! She’s at the forefront of tech regulation, especially when it comes to Big Tech in the EU. It is and will be fascinating to see how market structures could shift with her oversight. And – to my point about tech policy beyond just the US and Europe – I think that she’d have some valuable insights into how to grapple with companies that might have an outsize influence, which is a globally relevant problem.

Finally, what’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten? It can be for life, writing, privacy, or anything else.

Be really good at being yourself. I think it applies well to life, in knowing who you are; and to writing, in owning your writing style. I never take this advice as a call to be competitive but rather as something extremely motivating.

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