FOSI’s 2017 Annual Conference centered on the idea of restoring trust and civility in a challenging online world, with strong themes around practical and technical solutions to online problems. The event was opened by FOSI CEO Stephen Balkam and FOSI Board Chair Sarah Holland of Google.
View the full version of Balkam’s remarks in the Huffington Post.
To start the morning, FOSI publicly launched its newest piece of original research, Connected Families: How Parents Think & Feel about Toys, Wearables, and the Internet of Things. The study, supported by Amazon and conducted by Hart Research Associates, provided fresh insights into comfort levels of parents whose children use smart and connected devices in the home. A full presentation of the research was provided by Jay Campbell and Abigail Davenport. The full report, executive summary, and research slides are available on the policy and research page.
The first plenary session, The Practical and Policy Implications of our Hyper-Connected Lives explored both evidence-based and anecdotal examples of the impact of connected toys and family devices in the household. While there is a high level of convenience and practical function that connected technology provides, they can also become the basis for creative play and fun family-based activities. However, it is agreed that parents must be aware of their interactions with devices such as smart speakers. Children can’t always determine how human the qualities of these devices are, and how they interact with them can impact social-emotional development.
A short trailer of the documentary Cuba’s Digital Revolution was shown next, with remarks by the filmmaker Samuel George. The film, a product of the Bertelsmann Foundation, illustrates the overwhelming impact of the Internet on an isolated society, and how digital access in Cuba is transforming the culture and everyday lives of its citizens. The full film is available to be viewed here.
Lessons from Around the World provided an in-depth discussion between Stephen Balkam and Australian eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman-Grant. Australia has been leading by national example with its progressive policymaking and support of all elements of online safety via its safety portal. Most recently, the eSafety Office has undertaken efforts in partnership with Facebook to combat image-based abuse, or what is commonly known as revenge porn. Conversation covered the different approaches to similar work in other countries and around the world.
A fireside chat with Kurt Beidler, Amazon’s Director of Kids and Family Services explored how Amazon has approached the issue of children’s use of technology, and how kids can be empowered to made decisions online while also remaining safe. Parental controls, such as Amazon’s FreeTime, has changed the way parents allow their kids to use connected devices.
Late morning break-out sessions included What Would the Jetsons Do? Privacy, Ethics, and the Internet of Things, Technical and Human Solutions to Problematic Behaviors, and Teaching, Parenting, and Hard Online Conversations. These topics brought together top industry representatives, policymakers and educators to ask and answer the tough questions in their respective fields. In all areas, privacy and security remained a top concern for anyone working with children and technology, as well as examining how to best teach kids how the connected world works and to recognizing how technology can both harm and benefit them depending on how responsibly it is used.
In the afternoon, panelists for Serving Families with Special Needs discussed the unique ways that technology can enhance learning and communication for differently abled children, particularly those with autism. While screentime and digital play are highly debated for children of different age groups, the context is different on a case by case basis. Why All Offensive Content Isn’t Created Equal took into account the work of experts in varying areas of dark content, from offensive online abuse and hate speech to illegal online child sexual abuse material. 2020 Vision: The Future of Online Safety utilized a workshop structure, sourcing ideas for the upcoming years from a diverse audience of online safety advocates. Moderated by two experts, the outcome of the brainstorm was shared before the conference’s closing remarks.
A screening of the viral video “In Real Life” was followed by comments from Jason Cianciotto of the Tyler Clementi Foundation. The PSA was developed in partnership with Monica Lewinsky as part of the Click with Compassion campaign, and shows actors reading abusive social media posts to a “real” victim as strangers intervene. The resonating message from the film is that online abuse should be taken as seriously as real life abuse. The PSA can be viewed here.
The last plenary session, Reestablishing Trust and Civility in Our Challenging World, examined the role of the entire Internet ecosystem in combating online challenges and making the Internet a trusted and civil place. Experts tackled the hard questions about fake news, harassment, and safety by design while discussing possible approaches to respond to today’s problems while looking ahead to the future.
The final discussion, Back to the Future of Online Safety, was led by moderators Larry Magid and Robin Raskin, who used the crowdsourced information from their afternoon breakout to inform the discussion. With many differing opinions on what online safety could look like it just a few short years, it was agreed that much of the technology being debated or regulated in 2020 might not even be in use yet. Other points of interest included the developments of AI, AR, and VR, the commercialization of the web, and whether global standards would be in use.
Further questions or inquiries about the event can be directed to email@example.com.
To watch session videos from the conference, head to FOSI’s YouTube Channel!
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy
Former Ambassador Daniel A. Sepulveda served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy from March 2013 – January 2017. In this capacity, Mr. Sepulveda served as a Vice Chair to the 2016 OECD Ministerial Meeting on the Digital Economy, and as the lead U.S. negotiator for the 2015 World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) +10 Review, a United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting. In 2014, Sepulveda led the U.S. delegation to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Busan Plenipotentiary Conference, as well as the 2013 World Telecommunications Policy Forum at the ITU, and has served as the lead coordinator for multiple bilateral dialogues with international counterparts.
Prior to joining the State Department in 2012, Sepulveda served as a Senior Advisor and member of then Senator John Kerry’s senior management team. In that role, his portfolio included managing issues related to commerce, trade, and business, including Senator Kerry’s work as Chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet.
Before joining Senator Kerry’s office in 2009, Sepulveda served as an Assistant U.S. Trade Representative leading a team that managed Congressional Affairs for the U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk during the Presidential transition.
From 2004-2008 Sepulveda managed trade, immigration, interstate commerce, labor, ethics, and lobbying reform issues for then-Senator Barack Obama and also advised his presidential campaign. Before joining Senator Obama's office, Sepulveda worked for Senator Barbara Boxer, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, advising her on trade, technology, telecommunications, media regulation, consumer affairs, immigration, and labor issues.
Additional prior work experience includes service during the Clinton at the U.S. Department of Labor and at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR).
Mr. Sepulveda received a Master of Public Affairs from the Lindon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow in Public Policy and International Affairs and holds Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History from Emory University.
Senior Attorney in the Division of Privacy and Identity Protection
Federal Trade Commission
Kristin Cohen is a Senior Attorney in the Division of Privacy and Identity Protection in the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. Her work focuses primarily on enforcing federal statutes and regulations that pertain to information security and consumer privacy, including the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. Ms. Cohen previously served as the Chief of the FTC’s Office of Technology Research and Investigation. This Office conducts research on emerging applied technologies, including with respect to privacy and data security issues. Prior to joining the FTC, Ms. Cohen was an associate at Hogan Lovells (formerly Hogan & Hartson) and clerked for the Honorable Robert B. King on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Ms. Cohen received a BS from Georgetown University and a JD from the University of Virginia Law School.
Chief of Staff
Congresswoman Katherine Clark
Brooke Scannell is chief of staff to Congresswoman Katherine M. Clark (MA-5). Congresswoman Clark is a national leader in the fight against serious online threats and harassment, working with online safety advocates and the tech industry to raise awareness of these issues in Congress. Congresswoman Clark is the author of the Online Safety Modernization Act, a bipartisan effort to curb online abuse by criminalizing swatting, doxing, and sextortion as well as providing increased resources and training for law enforcement to prevent and prosecute these crimes. Prior to her work for Congresswoman Clark, Brooke owned and operated a Boston-based political consulting and public relations firm
Director of Product Management
Ginelle Brown is Director of Product Management in Verizon’s Global Products and Services group. She leads a team that develops Family and Communications apps and services for consumer wireless including FamilyBase, Family Locator, Caller Name ID and Verizon Messages. These apps help parents, children and consumers use mobile technology safely, set smart boundaries and avoid unwanted calls, contacts and content.
Ginelle previously helped lead the Verizon FiOS product and wireless video strategy teams. A mother of three, she brings a parent’s perspective to the evolution of a child’s digital experience.
Bertelsmann Foundation North America
Samuel George is a documentary filmmaker and analyst of international politics and economics as the Global Markets and Digital Advisor for the Bertelsmann Foundation. His films include The Crossroads series that dives inside global hotspots from Juarez, Mexico to the Syrian – Turkish border. He is also the author of The Pacific Pumas: An Emerging Model for Emerging Markets, an influential text analyzing the advancements and opportunities of Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. His films and writings have been featured in The Financial Times, The Huffington Post, and Deutsche Welle.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Peggy Klein joined The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 2006 after 14 years of prosecutorial experience serving as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of the Illinois Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney for the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office in which she specialized in child sexual exploitation cases and represented numerous state agencies in federal and state courts. Currently, Peggy serves as Litigation Counsel for NCMEC and provides training and case specific technical assistance to the Internet industry, law enforcement agencies and attorneys representing child pornography and child sex trafficking victims. Peggy received a Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor from Marquette University.
Senior Vice President, Digital Products
Darren Brelesky is Senior Vice President, Digital Products, Nickelodeon Group. In this role, Brelesky oversees the full product development life cycle from user research, to conceptualization and design, engineering and product delivery. He also spearheads the premium and web games teams for both Nickelodeon and Nick Jr.
During his time as SVP, Brelesky has played an integral role in several of Nickelodeon’s most recent forays into brand-new digital platforms including the multi-platform rollout of NOGGIN, a subscription video service for preschoolers, which launched in 2015; the responsive redesign of Nick.com, Nickelodeon’s dedicated website; and the launch of the Nick Jr. App, which received Apple’s Editors’ Choice award.
Prior to this position, Brelesky served as Vice President, Product Development & Production, Nickelodeon Group, where he was responsible for creating innovative product solutions for all digital experiences, discovering new customers, evaluating new business initiatives and leading the advancement of product and technology for the organization.
Brelesky and his team have received multiple industry accolades including an Emmy Award for User Experience and Visual Design for the Nick App and numerous Webby Awards. He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Head of Digital Devices and Services Policy
Sarah Hudgins is Amazon’s Head of Policy for Digital, Devices, and Services. She is based in Amazon’s Public Policy Americas office in Washington, DC.
Sarah leads the team that manages public policy issues on everything from privacy and artificial intelligence to intellectual property and IoT security to content and internet issues. She is Amazon’s government affairs point person on these issues engaging regularly with the United States Congress and Executive Branch of the federal government while also serving as the company’s liaison to third-party organizations, advocacy groups, and regulatory bodies.
Throughout her career, Sarah has developed a comprehensive understanding of the multi-faceted policy issues that have arisen with the advancement of Internet connected devices. Before joining Amazon, she served as the Director of Public Policy for the Interactive Advertising Bureau where she worked on a wide range of policy issues impacting the digital advertising industry, with an emphasis on privacy and mobile devices. She also led U.S House of Representatives advocacy for the video game publishing industry, provided regulatory policy support for the magazine publishing industry, and federal campaign advance work.
She serves on the Board of Directors for the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) and the Digital Media Association (DiMA) and was a founding Board Member of the Global Women’s Innovation Network from 2010 – 2016.
Sarah holds a J.D. from the Catholic University of America and a B.A. in Political Science and Communication Studies from the University of Iowa.
Senior Vice President, Global Public Policy
Rebecca Arbogast serves as Senior Vice President for Global Public Policy for Comcast Corporation. In this role she is responsible for the development and coordination of the company’s public policy efforts across the corporation.
Prior to joining Comcast in 2011, Ms. Arbogast served as Managing Director at Stifel Financial where she provided advice to institutional investors on legal issues affecting communications, media, and technology industries.
She joined Stifel from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) where she was Chief of the International Bureau Telecommunications Division, leading an office of attorneys, economists, and engineers shaping the agency’s policies for international communications services.
Prior to joining the FCC, Ms. Arbogast served in the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice, and she began her legal career as a corporate attorney with Wilmer Cutler practicing international and communications law.
Ms. Arbogast holds a law degree from Yale Law School and a Masters Degree from the University of Iowa. She has taught Constitutional Law at Johns Hopkins School of Public Policy and Global Communications at American University. She clerked for Judge Fletcher on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and was a Fulbright Fellow in European Community Law.
Head of Public Policy and Consumer Affairs
The Tyler Clementi Foundation
After earning his Masters in Public Administration from the University of Arizona, Jason joined the team at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute. As Research Director, he authored the first-ever analyses of U.S. Census data on the impact of anti-LGBT laws and policies on Hispanic/Latino same-sex couple families and their children, created and co-authored Youth in the Crosshairs: The Third Wave of Ex-Gay Activism, and conceived and managed the production of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth: An Epidemic of Homelessness, which helped procure the first-ever federal funding for shelters serving LGBT youth. He also became an issue expert and agency spokesperson featured on MSNBC, The Hallmark Channel, and in the New York Times.
As Executive Director of Wingspan, Southern Arizona’s LGBT Community Center, Jason helped procure multi-year, federal funding for youth and anti-violence programs, and he co-led the coalition in the only county to defeat Arizona’s 2008 anti-marriage ballot measure. He stewarded the agency through the beginning of the Great Recession with a strategic restructuring plan that reduced expenses by over 60%, maintained core, grant-funded programs, and helped raise $25K in new grant funding to explore merging with sister LGBT and HIV/AIDS agencies.
As an author and consultant focused on applied research, government affairs, and policy advocacy, Jason co-authored with Sean Cahill LGBT Youth in America’s Schools, published by the University of Michigan Press. The book was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title by the Association of College and Research Libraries, included in the Rainbow List of Recommended Books for Adults by the American Library Association, and was nominated for a Stonewall Book Award from the GLBT Roundtable of the American Library Association. He also conducted original, qualitative and quantitative research and analyses of U.S.-based nonprofits interested in new State Department funding to support LGBT populations abroad.
At Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), Jason served as Director of Public Affairs and Policy, as well as Managing Director of Special Events and Major Gifts. He helped raise over $600K in multi-year funding from the Ford and MAC AIDS foundations and helped procure over $1.91M in New York City Council discretionary and initiative funding. He led and worked in coalitions that advanced policy and budget priorities of New York State’s Plan to End AIDS by 2020 and created New York’s meningitis vaccination law. With his husband, Courter Simmons, Jason also created and produced The GMHC Annual Howard Ashman Award and Benefit Cabaret in 2013 and 2014. Awardees included Howard Ashman (posthumous) and Terrence McNally, celebrated by Broadway star performers including Tyne Daly, Marin Mazzie, Jerry Mitchell, and Chita Rivera. Jason also represented GMHC in media, including the Associated Press, CBS Morning News, Chelsea Now, and WNYC radio.
Prior to his tenure at the Tyler Clementi Foundation, Jason served as Vice President of Policy, Advocacy, and Communications at Harlem United. There, he helped procure over $300,000 in New York City Council discretionary and initiative funding, helped increase federal Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) funding by $21M, and created a new, client-led grassroots advocacy program that reduced measures of internalized HIV stigma by nearly 30%. He grew the agency’s press list by 435%, Facebook page likes by 195%, and Twitter followers by 26%, with social media engagement rates nearly double the nonprofit industry average. He managed Swallow This, a corporate-funded, $300K PrEP education campaign that generated 75M print and 4.3M digital ad and video impressions, with over 33K webpage visits. He also represented the agency in media, including the Advocate, Mic.com, NBC News, and Rolling Stone.
Jason lives in Queens, NY with his husband, son, and two of the most well-traveled cats that ever lived.
General Manager, US Public Policy for Microsoft and Global Public Policy for LinkedIn
Pablo Chavez is the General Manager, US Public Policy for Microsoft and Global Public Policy for LinkedIn. In his Microsoft role, Pablo leads the company's US policy team. In his LinkedIn role, Pablo Chavez is responsible for LinkedIn's public policy and government affairs initiatives as well as the company's policy research and civic engagement programs.
Before taking his combined role, Pablo was LinkedIn's Vice President of Global Public Policy and Government Affairs.
Prior to joining LinkedIn, Pablo was a Senior Director of Public Policy with Google where he held a number of leadership roles in public policy and government affairs. Before then, Pablo worked in the U.S. Senate where he engaged in numerous technology policy issues.
Pablo serves on the boards of trustees of the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation St. Coletta of Greater Washington, an organization dedicated to serving the needs of individuals with disabilities.
Pablo received his law degree from Stanford Law School. He received his bachelor's degree from Princeton University.
Chief, Disability Rights Office
Federal Communications Commission
Suzy Rosen Singleton, a native user of American Sign Language, is the Chief of the Disability Rights Office of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission, and has practiced with the Commission since 2012. Her legal career started in 1992, and involved civil rights litigation for the now defunct California Center for Law and the Deaf (CalCLAD), and disability policy work in the following former capacities: as the counsel for government affairs for the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), a special education law compliance officer for the U.S. Department of Education, and the ombuds for Gallaudet University. Suzy is licensed to practice in the District of Columbia, and holds a Juris Doctor from the UCLA School of Law, and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Bertelsmann Foundation North America
Irene Braam joined the Bertelsmann Foundation North America as executive director in April 2016. She is also the first vice president and board director of the Bertelsmann Foundation Board of Directors.
Braam is an experienced lawyer and media expert, and worked for over ten years with the Bertelsmann company. She began as director of government relations of the Brussels Liaison Office in 2005 and became senior vice president of government relations in September 2011.
After studying law at Maastricht University, the Dutch native began her professional career in 1998 in the music industry. Braam was head of international, legal and business affairs at Naïve Records in Paris, in charge of business development for Midbar Tech Ltd. in Tel Aviv, and served as both director of public policy and government affairs and director of legal and business affairs at the Universal Music Group in London and Brussels.
Braam is a native speaker of Dutch, and also speaks English, German, French and some Spanish.
Dangerous Speech Project
Susan Benesch founded and directs the Dangerous Speech Project, to study speech that can inspire violence – and to find ways to prevent this, without infringing on freedom of expression. To that end, she conducts research on methods to diminish harmful speech online, or the harm itself. She is also Faculty Associate of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University and a senior fellow at the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights. Trained as a human rights lawyer at Yale, Susan also teaches at American University.
Director of Communications and Outreach
Born This Way Foundation
Rachel Martin is Director of Communications and Outreach for Born This Way Foundation. The nonprofit organization, founded in 2012 by Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta, is dedicated to supporting the wellness of young people and empowering them to create a kinder, braver world. This work includes Hack Harassment, an initiative launched by Born This Way Foundation, Intel, and Vox Media to foster a safer, more inclusive internet. Before joining the Foundation, Rachel served as a Vice President at DKC, assisting a variety of nonprofit, advocacy, and corporate clients with strategic planning and communications outreach. She has also worked previously for the Democratic National Committee during the 2012 presidential cycle as well as for NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, serving on his 2013 campaign and as a City Hall Assistant Press Secretary. Rachel is originally from Massachusetts and is a graduate of George Washington University.
Policy Attorney with the Technology and Civil Liberties Project
American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California
Chris Conley is a Policy Attorney with the Technology and Civil Liberties Project of the ACLU of Northern California, where he works to ensure that emerging technologies support rather than undermine individual rights.
He has recently focused on issues of government surveillance, including the role of community input and oversight into law enforcement use of surveillance technology and the privacy implications of metadata collection by the NSA and other government agencies.
His past work includes looking at the role of mobile and social media platforms in protecting individual rights, exploring non-regulatory approaches to the “right to be forgotten,” and developing a “Facebook quiz about Facebook quizzes” and other multimedia tools to help educate consumers about privacy and free speech issues. He has been invited to speak on various topics before the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Federal Trade Commission, the California legislature, and at various conferences including SXSW Interactive and DEF CON.
Prior to joining the ACLU of Northern California, Chris was a Fellow with the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, where he studied international Internet surveillance. He previously worked as a software engineer and data architect for various corporations and non-profits.
Chris holds a B.S.E. in Electrical Engineering from The University of Michigan, a S.M. in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology.
Director of Technology and Innovation Policy
Hilary is Director of Technology and Innovation Policy for Toyota. In this position, Hilary handles policy issues relating to connected and automated vehicle technology, including artificial intelligence, data privacy, cybersecurity, Internet of Things, and spectrum.
Prior to joining Toyota, Hilary was on the staff of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. She served as Staff Director of the Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation with jurisdiction over matters relating to competitiveness, technology, standards, and innovation. Previously, as a Counsel to the Committee, she handled parliamentary, procedural, and jurisdictional matters and participated in the development and implementation of legislative strategy. Before joining the Committee staff, Hilary served as Legislative Director and Ways and Means Counsel for individual Members of Congress.
She holds a J.D. and a M.A. in Public Affairs from the University of Texas, and a B.A. in Political Science with honors from the University of Washington.
Associate Director of Investigative Technology and Cyberhate Response
Jonathan Vick is Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Associate Director of Investigative Technology and Cyberhate Response in New York. He joined ADL over 14 years ago after working in online marketing for Hearst Publishing, marketing for Philips Electronics, and trade development intelligence for the British Government.
He is a specialist on the technology, business and politics of the internet and connected technologies. Jonathan has written extensively and created training material and consumer safety tools. He works with internet related companies, law enforcement agencies and government. He is actively involved in training and liaison efforts for emerging technology markets in Latin America and South Africa.
Jonathan is a recipient of ADL’s Senn/Greenberg Award for Professional Excellence. He is ADL representative to Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council, YouTube’s Trusted Flagger Program and a board member of the International Network Against Cyber Hate. He is a graduate of the Syracuse University, Newhouse School of Communications.
Chief Technology Officer
Sven Gerjets has served as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Mattel, since July 2017.
As CTO, Gerjets is leading Mattel’s rapid transformation into becoming a leaner, faster and smarter high-performing toy company. He is responsible for all aspects of Mattel’s technology implementation, including shared technology platforms, analytics, software and hardware development and connected products. In addition, Gerjets also leads the Company’s initiatives around data privacy and security – he currently sits on the board of the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) to develop and institute industry best practices that keep our children’s digital data safe and secure.
Recognized as an enterprise technology visionary with a strong background in product development, data security and privacy, Gerjets has more than 25 years of experience leading technology organizations and improving business results across a broad range of industries, including telecommunications, higher education and biotechnology. Prior to joining Mattel, Gerjets served as Chief Product Officer of n.io Innovation, a startup that develops a real-time, distributed and extensible software platform used to integrate legacy technology with modern forms of computing such as AI and IOT. Gerjets currently serves as an advisor to n.io Innovation.
Before n.io Innovation, Gerjets held key leadership positions with Time Warner Cable, Inc., where he served as Chief Information Officer; Pearson, where he served as Chief Technology Officer and helped transform the quality of customer-facing education products; and DIRECTV, Inc., where he served multiple executive roles, including Senior Vice President, Information Technology, and led the creation of the company’s IT lifecycle processes that increased business value. Earlier in his career, Gerjets led IT teams and operations at Symantec Corporation, GeneticMedic and AT&T Wireless Services.
Gerjets brings a personal passion for revolutionizing legacy technology mindsets into one that is appropriate for today’s hyper-connected world. This has inspired him to build sustainable cultures of innovation throughout his tenure. In 2014, Computerworld magazine recognized his efforts at DIRECTV naming Gerjets as a top 100 technology leader. Gerjets has also contributed to many renowned publications, including WIRED magazine, InfoWorld and CIOReview magazine, discussing topics such as innovation, disruption and technology leadership.
Gerjets earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Kennedy-Western University. He later participated in Harvard Business School’s Advance Management Program.
Founder and President
Living in Digital Times
Robin Raskin is the founder of Living in Digital Times (LIDT), a team of technophiles who bring together top experts and the latest innovations to look at the intersection of lifestyle and technology. LIDT produces a number of notable conferences and expos at CES® and at conferences and events worldwide. The company’s trademark events include: Last Gadget Standing, Digital Health Summit, FashionWare, Fitness Tech Summit, Kids@Play Summit, The Digital Money Forum and others.
In a previous lifetime, Robin honed her tech chops at a variety of technology publications. She was a columnist for USA Today online, editor of PC Magazine, started FamilyPC magazine and was one of the founding contributors of Yahoo! Tech. Author of six books, magazine publisher, blogger, TV and radio personality, Robin has been a thought-leader at the forefront of an ever-changing topic: what it means to be digital. Robin also serves on the board of the CTA Foundation.
She lives in NYC and the Hudson Valley, with her husband, her three drop-in-now-and-then children, and closets full of obsolete technology.
Hart Research Associates
Abigail Davenport is a partner with Hart Research Associates. Since joining the firm in 1994, she has conducted research and provided strategic guidance to a diverse client base that includes issue advocacy and nonprofit organizations, corporations, media, and trade associations.
Abigail focuses her efforts on helping clients measure attitudes on complex issues, answer difficult strategic questions, and leverage key audiences’ opinions to their benefit. Today, she primarily leads research projects for the firm's nonprofit and private-sector clients, conducting qualitative and quantitative research to inform public education campaigns, campaigns aimed at changing social norms, public policy efforts and public affairs messaging, corporate-reputation and brand-research projects, and corporate social responsibility programs.
Some of the many clients for whom Abigail has conducted research include the Family Online Safety Institute, The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Science and Technology Innovation Program, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the College Board, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, Learning Heroes, Futures Without Violence, The Coca-Cola Company, Exelon, AT&T, and Disney & ESPN Media Networks.
Abigail is a graduate of Tufts University with a degree in international relations.
Hart Research Associates
Jay Campbell is a partner at Hart Research Associates, and is based in Philadelphia. He has worked at Hart Research since 1996, when he joined the firm’s data department.
Jay has been an analyst since 2000. He has conducted research in all of the firm’s major practice areas—political, nonprofit/advocacy, media, corporate, and labor. For a decade he oversaw Hart Research’s regular polling for NBC News and The Wall Street Journal and currently does the same for CNBC’s quarterly All-America Economic Survey on economic policy, personal finance, and consumer behavior.
Jay has a particular focus on work in the nonprofit sector, measuring attitudes toward complex issues on behalf of advocacy organizations. In this capacity he has provided research and strategic advice to national organizations such as the American Heart Association, the Sierra Club, the Climate Action Campaign, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, as well as numerous state and local advocacy groups.
His research into attitudes about technology includes numerous studies on behalf of the Family Online Safety Institute, AT&T, and the Entertainment Software Rating Board.
Jay graduated from the College of the Holy Cross with a degree in political science. He has been quoted on politics and public opinion in national publications and has appeared on National Public Radio, MSNBC, CNBC, and C-SPAN discussing politics and polling.
Executive Director, Socrates Program
The Aspen Institute
Nationally recognized for cross-sector successes in philanthropy, education and technology; currently leading the Aspen Institute Socrates Program, a values/ethics-based global education forum for leaders. Previous to the Aspen Institute, Cordell held leadership roles with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Business Roundtable, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and the IBM Corporation.
Honors include: an Eisenhower Fellowship to China; designation as a White House Champion of Change for Computer Science Education; designation as a “40 under 40” by business and civic organizations in Washington State and Tennessee; University of Notre Dame Law School alumni of the year awardee; selections as a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow for Young American Leaders and a Broad Foundation Resident in Urban Education. Current board service includes the Advisory Council for the Center for Democracy and Technology, Alumni Council for Cultural Vistas, AIPAC National Council and the Blockchain start-up Injii (Puerto Rico). He previously served on the boards of the United Way of Greater Chattanooga, United Way of King County, Downtown Seattle YMCA and the Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation (Chattanooga, TN).
Mr. Carter writes and speaks on topics such as philanthropy, education and social impact on panels, conferences and seminars, speaking and moderator appearances include: 2019 Spark Innovation Festival (Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina); 2019 Concordia Summit (Bogota, Colombia); 2019 Young Leaders Academy of Macedonia (Skopje, Macedonia); 2018 Blockchain Trends Summit (Seoul, South Korea); 2018 The Wright (Golden, CO); 2018 SXSW Festival (Austin, TX); 2017 YSEALI Summit (Manila, Philippines); Confluence ROME (Rome, GA); Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank District's Reinventing Community Conference (Philadelphia, PA); US News STEM Solutions Leadership Summit (Dallas, TX); ACT Board of Directors Annual Meeting (Washington, DC); Council of Chief State Schools Officers Legislative Conference (Washington, DC); and the Association for Career and Technical Education's National Policy Seminar (Washington, DC).
Cordell earned a J.D. from the University of Notre Dame Law School, a M.Sc. in Public Policy and Management Studies from Carnegie Mellon University and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Washington.
Program Lead, National Cyber Security Awareness Programs
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Princess Young is currently the Lead Management and Program Analyst for National Awareness Programs in the Cybersecurity Education and Awareness (CE&A) branch of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s office of Cybersecurity Communications (CS&C). CE&A strives to promote and advance cybersecurity awareness, outreach, education, training, and workforce development throughout public and private sectors.
In her role, Ms. Young manages and coordinates National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), with year-round planning efforts and annual execution each October at the federal and national levels. She also directs strategic communications and direction for the DHS Stop.Think.Connect. TM Campaign, a national cybersecurity awareness campaign that aims to teach safer online practices to all Americans. With over 400 partners and growing, this program works to engage multiple stakeholders – government agencies and offices, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and individuals – into a collaborative national cybersecurity awareness effort throughout the year.
Ms. Young holds an Honors Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Business Management and a Master of Business Administration degree in Information Assurance from Idaho State University. While at ISU, she served as Editor-in- Chief of her collegiate newspaper and was an Information Assurance Analyst at ISU’s National Information Assurance Training & Education Center. Ms. Young is also a CyberCorps® Scholarship for Service alumna.
* FOSI Board Member, Public Policy and Government Relations Manager
Simon Morrison manages family safety issues in Google's Washington DC Public Policy Strategy team. Prior to this he worked in Google's Policy Strategy team for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, overseeing intellectual property, media regulation and intermediary liability issues. He holds degrees in English Literature and African Studies from Macalester College and Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. He joined Google in 2007.
Director of Public Affairs
Susan Diegelman is Director of Public Affairs at AT&T. A veteran of the enterprise software, cloud computing and mobile technology industries, Susan collaborates with teams across AT&T to ensure products delivered to market are fully accessible. Bringing a background in market strategy and stakeholder relations, Susan joined AT&T in 2006. She currently partners with stakeholders in the rural, senior and disability communities to work toward mutual policy objectives.
Head of Product Policy and Counterterrorism
Monika Bickert is Facebook’s head of product policy and counterterrorism. Her global team manages the policies for what types of content can be shared on Facebook and how advertisers and developers can interact with the site. Monika originally joined Facebook in 2012 as lead security counsel, advising the company on matters including child safety and data security. Prior to joining Facebook, Monika served as Resident Legal Advisor at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, where she specialized in Southeast Asian rule of law development and response to child exploitation and human trafficking. She also served as Assistant United States Attorney for 11 years in Washington, DC, and Chicago, prosecuting federal crimes ranging from public corruption to gang-related violence. Monika received a B.A. in Economics and English from Rice University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Senior Policy Manager
Heather works on security, data governance, net neutrality, and privacy in the digital age at Mozilla, maker of the Firefox browser. At the intersection of public policy and technology, she is part policy-to-tech translator, part product consultant, and part long-term Internet strategist. She works with stakeholders and policymakers in DC as well as global product and policy teams and was recognized as one of the 2014 Forbes 30 Under 30 in Law and Policy.
She helped found the public policy team at Cloudflare, a website performance and security company, served as privacy and security issue expert on Google’s public policy team, and started her career working on government technology, privacy, and identity management at the Center for Democracy and Technology.
She holds a dual B.A. in Computer Science and Cognitive Science from Wellesley College with concentrations in philosophy and legal studies, and is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US). She is also recognized as a Christian Science Monitor Passcode Influencer and serves on several advisory boards.
Founder & CEO
Dr. Bennett is a screen safety expert who teaches families how to strengthen relationships AND achieve screen sanity. She is founder and CEO ofGetKidsInternetSafe (GKIS) and author of Screen Time in the Mean Time: A Parenting Guide to Get Kids and Teens Internet Safe.
In her work as a clinical psychologist over 25 years, she sees the impacts of digital injury and how to treat and prevent it. After being distracted by the loss of her parents, she needed answers for her own kids; shame-free, actionable strategies that work. They weren’t out there. Instead she found speakers who focused on scare-tactics and extreme no-screen recommendations. Being a mom herself, she knew these approaches led to eye-rolls, conflicts, and a damaged parent-child relationship. Her approach for GKIS is, instead, based on information that is science-based with parenting strategies that are outcome-based and tested with real families. Her CSUCI research and teaching complement her feet-on-the-ground warm and practical real life skill set. She is currently on Facebook’s Youth Advisory Team, consults with experts in technology and education, and has served as Global Ambassador of TeenSafe. Her television and radio appearances, keynotes, blog articles, and online parenting programs make a powerful impact on families. When she’s not working, she spends much of her time driving her teenager to get fast food as she tells him how unhealthy fast food is.
CEO and Co-Founder
Larry Magid is a technology journalist and an Internet safety advocate. He is CEO and co-founder of ConnectSafely.org and an on-air technology analyst for CBS News.
His technology reports can be heard daily on CBS News and CBS affiliates throughout the U.S. and he has a daily tech segment on KCBS radio in San Francisco. He writes a syndicated column for the San Jose Mercury News and blogs for The Guardian, Forbes and Huffington Post.
He has also been a frequent contributor to the New York Times and was, for 19 years, a syndicated columnist for the Los Angeles Times when his columns appeared in newspapers around the world, including The Washington Post.
He’s a regular contributor to BBC World Service, BBC Today Programme and an occasional guest on National Public Radio. He has appeared on the all of the major network evening and morning news programs.
Larry is author or co-author of nine books including the best-selling Little PC Book along with Cruising Online: Larry Magid’s Guide to the New Digital Highways, The Fully Powered PC, Electronic Link, MySpace Unraveled and Mini-Manual for a Free University.
Rob Pegoraro tries to make sense of computers, gadgets, the Internet, apps, and other things that beep or blink. He covers tech policy at Yahoo Finance, writes a tech-help column for USAToday.com, offers telecom and gadget guidance at Wirecutter and has contributed to such sites as Consumer Reports, Are Technica, PCMag.com, Boing Boing, VentureBeat, and Discovery News. You can also find him on radio, TV, podcasts and the occasional panel.
Until the spring of 2011, Pegoraro wrote a consumer-tech column and blog for the Washington Post during a 17-year stint that saw him write for almost every section of the paper, survive five CMSes and appear on the front page all of three times.
Pegoraro has a degree in international relations from Georgetown University (meaning, zero academic credentials to cover technology), has met most of the founders of the Internet and once received a single-word e-mail reply from Steve Jobs.
You can follow him on Twitter at @robpegoraro.
Societal Computing Ph.D. Candidate
School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University
Abigail Marsh is a Societal Computing Ph.D. Candidate in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University advised by Dr. Lorrie Faith Cranor. Her research investigates digital privacy concerns in families, especially the tension between children's online safety and their privacy. Her recent work studies various parenting strategies and whether they are effective at achieving parents' online safety goals for their children. She is a recipient of a 2015 Facebook Fellowship and a 2017 Carnegie Mellon K&L Gates Presidential Fellowship. She expects to graduate in 2018.
Backus Consulting LLC
Jenny Backus is the owner and President of Backus Consulting LLC, a strategic communications firm specializing in strategy development, campaign and project management and intergovernmental consulting for corporations, media outlets, trade associations, nonprofit organizations, academic institutions and political campaigns and committees.
A nationally recognized spokesperson and expert on strategic communications and partnerships, Backus has worked for Fortune 500 companies, national trade associations and NGOs and in the political arena serving in leadership positions in the US House, the US Senate and on Presidential campaigns, including managing more than 40 Presidential Primary Debates/Forums and events for the national media in the 2004 and 2008 Presidential cycles.
Prior to restarting her Consulting business in 2016, Jenny served for three years as a Senior Policy Advisor and Head of Strategic Partnerships and Engagement for Google where she developed Google’s state by state public affairs teams and strategic plans, managed all Google’s US NGO and 3rd Party relations and oversaw a multi-million dollar public affairs and policy budget. Prior to that, her company Backus Consulting was one of Google’s top US consultants managing key coalitions and campaigns.
Jenny also served in the first two years of the Obama Administration as the Acting Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Strategy & Planning at the US Department of Health and Human Services working closely with Secretary Sebelius and the White House. She managed communications activities for HHS and all their operating and staff divisions and during her tenure grew HHS ASPA from a $6 million to a $20 million department; expanded web and New Media capabilities and supervised and managed more than $250 million worth of communication contracts across HHS.
During her time as ASPA, Jenny managed communications and marketing efforts around the implementation of the Affordable Care Act including the creation of a new consumer website, healthcare.gov and a multi-million dollar communications contract for on-line and New Media advertising around key benefits of the new law. She served as the lead US Government Communications Official for the H1N1 Pandemic, managing the creation of Flu.gov with Google’s Flu Vaccination locator and under her leadership helped make possible the first–ever US Government You Tube contest on flu prevention.
In addition to running her own consulting business, Jenny also serves on several Boards, including as Chair of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, the World Learning Board, the DC Public Library Foundation Board and as Co- Treasurer for the Alice Deal Middle School Community Association.
A graduate of Brattleboro Union High School and Brown University, Backus lives in Washington DC with her husband Ed Pagano and son Jack.
Michael Burns has more than 20 years of experience in private equity and technology management. He is the Co-Founder and CEO of Zift, which provides essential digital parenting tools, insights and resources for families in a technology driven world. Zift acquired Net Nanny, the popular parental control software brand, in 2016. Michael has done multiple start-up ventures.
Michael was a founder and the Director of Business Development at Agere, which developed high-speed, multi-protocol network processors. Agere was acquired by Lucent Technologies and became the network processor division of Lucent Microelectronics. Michael later was founding chairman at Ciclon Semiconductor which spun out of Agere Systems and built the most advanced power transistors for the mobile and computing markets, including the iPhone.
Michael was a founder of Traffic.com, serving in various executive roles. Traffic.com is a provider of traffic applications serving the logistics, media, and telematics markets. Traffic went public on the NASDAQ and was eventually part of Nokia. Formerly, Michael was a Program Manager for electronics and systems integration programs with Lockheed Martin. In that capacity, he was responsible for integrating commercial networking products into high-performance aerospace and military platforms. Michael was an officer in the US Navy.
In addition, Michael worked at several institutional investors as a Managing Director at Alara Capital, Guggenheim Partners and TL Ventures. He focused on the technology, internet and communications.
Mike graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania's Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology. He has a B.S. degree in Finance from the Wharton School as well as B.S.E. and M.S.E. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the Moore School. His master's thesis focused on applying engineering technology at the University of Pennsylvania Health System for diagnostic measurements. Mike graduated Eta Kappa Nu and Tau Beta Pi, was a Benjamin Franklin Scholar, and authored several technical publications.
Senior Research Fellow
Mercatus Center, George Mason University
Adam Thierer is a Senior Research Fellow with the Technology Policy Program at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He specializes in technology, media, Internet, and free-speech policies, with a particular focus on online safety and digital privacy. His writings have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, and Forbes, and he has appeared on national television and radio. Thierer is a frequent guest lecturer and has testified numerous times on Capitol Hill.
Thierer has authored or edited eight books on topics ranging from media regulation and child safety issues to the role of federalism in high-technology markets. His latest book is Permissionless Innovation: The Continuing Case for Comprehensive Technological Freedom.
He contributes to the Technology Liberation Front, a leading tech policy blog. Thierer has served on several distinguished online safety task forces, including Harvard University’s Internet Safety Technical Task Force and the federal government’s Online Safety Technology Working Group.
Previously, Thierer was president of the Progress & Freedom Foundation, director of telecommunications studies at the Cato Institute, and a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation. Thierer received his MA in international business management and trade theory at the University of Maryland and his BA in journalism and political philosophy from Indiana University.
University of Washington Tech Policy Lab
Emily McReynolds is a researcher at the University of Washington Tech Policy Lab. The Lab is an interdisciplinary research collaboration of the UW's School of Law, Information School, and School of Computer Science & Engineering focused on emerging technology with the goal to strengthen and inform tech policy. Her research centers on privacy, anonymity, and security with an emphasis on policy surrounding emerging technologies. Emily's work includes analyses of the privacy and security impact of Internet of Things devices, privacy in the technical process of big data, and the implication of the introduction of AI agents in the home. Emily has a J.D. and before getting into policy work she used to teach people how to use computers.
Head of Global Safety Outreach
As Twitter's Head of Global Safety Outreach, Patricia Cartes works to define policy and to ensure user safety and security in the challenging realm of modern social media. Patricia's team works 24x7 to defend and respect the voice of Twitter users and to fight online abuse including targeted harassment, child sexual exploitation, human trafficking and cyber-bullying.
Patricia Cartes started working in the technology industry in 2006 when she joined Google’s Webspam team. After building an expertise in site integrity, she joined Facebook as one of the founding members of the company's operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. During her time in their User Operations team she managed Facebook’s Intellectual Property and Safety teams, focusing on legal issues as well as on suicide prevention and child protection. In 2011 she joined their Public Policy organization where she was appointed their Head of Safety responsible for maintaining relationships with online safety organizations, Law Enforcement & Military agencies, government hotlines and data protection authorities, across EMEA.
Henry Claypool currently works as an independent consultant. His clients include a unique mix of technology companies and organizations working on health care policy. His work with the technology sector allows companies and organizations to build a deeper appreciation of the user experience from a disability perspective. He serves as a Senior Fellow at the Future of Privacy Forum. At the American Association of People with Disabilities, he facilitates the organization’s technology forum, which is a monthly meeting developed to foster dialogue between industry and the national organizations that represent people with disabilities. He is affiliated faculty at the University of California San Francisco where he works as the policy director for Community Living Policy Center at the Institute on Health and Aging.
Claypool has an extensive record of public service with his most recent appointment in January 2017 to serve on the Department of Transportation’s Advisory Committee on Automated Transportation. In 2013, President Obama appointed him to serve on the Federal Commission on Long Term Care while at AAPD. From 2009-2013, he served as the Director of the Office on Disability and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. He has over two decades of experience with the Social Security Act entitlement programs - Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income.
Assistant Principal for Teaching and Learning, St. John's Prep (Danvers, MA)
Director of Education, ConnectSafely
Kerry Gallagher, JD is an innovative teacher, school administrator, lawyer, TEDx speaker, keynote speaker, education consultant, downhill skier, hiker, mom, and wife. She currently serves as Assistant Principal for Teaching and Learning at St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers, Massachusetts; and Director of K-12 Education at ConnectSafely, an internet safety non-profit in Palo Alto, California. Kerry is co-author of several ConnectSafely award-winning guidebooks for parents and teachers on topics that include social media, data privacy, education technology, copyright, and more. She’s been recognized as a FutureReady Instructional Coach, ASCD Emerging Leader, Adobe Education Leader, PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator, and EdSurge Columnist. Her passions include digital wellness, innovative professional learning, and effective integration of curriculum, pedagogy, and technology. Accolades for her work include awards from the Family Online Safety Institute, MassCUE, SmartBrief, and St. Anselm College. She is on social media @KerryHawk02 and her website is www.KerryHawk02.com.
Public Policy Manager
Sarah Holland is Public Policy Manager for Google, where she focuses on consumer privacy and data innovation, emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, and online safety and digital literacy. Immediately prior to joining Google, she served as a senior policy advisor to U.S. Senator Mark Pryor on matters related to technology and communications, privacy and consumer protection, and foreign policy. Sarah is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and Johns Hopkins University, and studied at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. She currently serves as Chair of the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) Board of Directors and member of the iCanHelpline.org Advisory Committee. She also serves as Community Club mentor.
iRules: What Every Tech Healthy Family Needs to Know
Janell Burley Hofmann is the author of iRules: What Every Tech Healthy Family Needs to Know, International Speaker, Facilitator and Consultant. Founder of iRules Academy & The Slow Tech Movement. Mother of Five.
Policy & Development Manager
Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children
Danielle leads the start up of Thorn’s government affairs strategy and the continued growth of our development efforts. She comes to Thorn from the campaign trail with a broad range of community organizing and program management experience. Prior to politics, Danielle was a consultant at Deloitte where she served federal and nonprofit clients at the intersection of human rights and national security and helped launch of the firm’s anti-trafficking practice. Danielle graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Loyola University Maryland.
VP of Marketing & Digital Civility
As Vice President of Marketing & Community Safety for Roblox, Tami Bhaumik is supporting the company on a global scale to inspire brand advocacy, awareness, and engagement through social channels, digital experiences, and community-driven events. She is also creating a worldwide community of internet safety leaders to help foster good digital citizenship habits among kids and teens.
Tami is passionate about growing companies that have disruptive technologies and enhance people’s day-to-day lives. She brings over 25 years of consumer and high-tech marketing experience to the team, having launched and led the growth of many start-ups including Sling Media, Anki, Ooma, and Lyve Minds. She also built deep ad agency expertise at Saatchi & Saatchi and J. Walter Thompson
Vice President for Policy
Center for Democracy & Technology
Chris Calabrese is the Vice President for Policy at the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) where he oversees CDT’s policy portfolio. Chris has long been an advocate for privacy protections, Internet openness, limits on government surveillance, and fostering the responsible use of new technologies.
Chris has testified before Congress and appeared in many media outlets, including CBS Evening News, Fox News and National Public Radio, discussing technology and privacy issues. He has also been quoted in a variety of publications including the New York Times, Washington Postand Associated Press. He was named one of Washington’s Top Lobbyists by The Hill newspaper in both 2012 and 2013. Chris also sits on the Consumer Advisory Committee of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Before joining CDT, Chris served as legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Washington Legislative Office. In that role, he led the office’s advocacy efforts related to privacy, developing proactive strategies on pending federal legislation and executive branch actions concerning privacy, new technology and identification systems. His key areas of focus included limiting location tracking by police, safeguarding electronic communications and individual users’ Internet surfing habits, and regulating new surveillance technologies such as unmanned drones.
Before becoming a lobbyist, Chris also helped lead several national ACLU campaigns including opposing state implementation of the Real ID Act and ending law enforcement’s use of commercial databases and data-mining as part of the Multi-State Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange (MATRIX) program.
Prior to joining the ACLU, Chris served as the legal counsel to the Massachusetts Senate Majority Leader, Linda J. Melconian. In that capacity, he helped draft legislation to ensure that privacy and anti-discrimination laws extended to genetic information. Chris is a graduate of Harvard University and holds a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center. He lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his wife and three children.
Founder & Principal
Tim Sparapani, Principal at SPQR Strategies, PLLC, is a legislative, legal and strategic consultant who helps companies understand and respond to the pressures created for businesses, consumers and governments by emerging technologies. Tim’s specialties are privacy, cybersecurity, technology and constitutional law. Tim’s clients are a diverse mix of industry leading companies, dynamic technology startups, and thought leading advocacy organizations.
Tim is a frequent public speaker on topics related to emerging technologies. He has testified before Congress five times and given more than 500 TV, radio and print interviews. Tim writes frequently for Forbes and other publications on these topics.
Tim’s SPQR Strategies clients have asked him to undertake important, ongoing responsibilities. For example, Tim served for 3 years as the Vice President, Policy, Law & Government Affairs for the Application Developers Alliance, a trade association serving more than 30,000 application “app” developers and 200 member companies. Tim has also served as General Counsel for several app company and tech startups. He advises other start-up tech companies on a range of policy matters including cybersecurity, patent reform, online safety and security.
Tim was the first Director of Public Policy at Facebook. Tim was responsible for developing and implementing the company’s interaction with the federal, state, local and foreign governments and with opinion and policy makers. He managed these roles as the company grew from 150 million to more than 900 million active users and from 350 employees to more than 3,000. Prior to joining Facebook, Tim was Senior Legislative Counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, where he helped advance the constitutional principle of the right to privacy, representing the ACLU before Congress, the Executive Branch and the media. For the more than four years preceding his time at the ACLU, Tim served as an associate at the law firm of Dickstein Shapiro where he helped clients navigate interconnecting constitutional, statutory, political and policy challenges. Tim holds a bachelor’s degree with honors from Georgetown University and a J.D. from the law school at the University of Michigan.
Director of Kids and Family
Kurt is the Director of Kids and Family for Amazon, where he leads all digital and hardware products for kids and families, including Amazon FreeTime, Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, and Fire Kids Edition tablet. Kurt is a seasoned global business leader with experience in the US, Asia, and Europe. He has led major international media businesses for Amazon in Beijing, China, where he ran the physical media product categories for Amazon.cn and also launched the Amazon Kindle.
An Amazon veteran since 2005, Kurt began his Amazon career as the founder and head of Amazon’s global enterprise print-on-demand (POD) fulfillment service. Prior to Amazon, Kurt was a Senior Consultant with Princeton Consultants, Inc.
Kurt has two master’s degrees in Chinese Language and Literature, one from Princeton University and one from the University of Washington, and a bachelor’s degree in East Asian Studies from Lehigh University. Outside of Amazon, Kurt has served on the board of directors for several organizations, including the Arthritis Foundation.
VP, Legal & Policy
Family Online Safety Institute
Jennifer Hanley is the Vice President of Legal and Policy for the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI). Jennifer directs FOSI’s government outreach and policy strategy. Jennifer helps FOSI build relationships with government officials as well as external partnerships and advises leading technology companies on best practices, policy developments, and emerging issues around online safety. Jennifer implements FOSI’s global projects and initiatives and manages the Washington, D.C. staff team. She also leads FOSI’s research work. Jennifer develops policy positions on Internet safety issues including online privacy, mobile safety, cyberbullying, sexting, controversial content, student data privacy, encouraging positive online content for kids, and federal and state legislation and regulations. Jennifer also represents FOSI on panels and in the press.
Founder & CEO
Family Online Safety Institute
For the past 30 years, Stephen Balkam has had a wide range of leadership roles in the nonprofit sector in the both the US and UK. He is currently the Founder and CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), an international, nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, DC. FOSI’s mission is to make the online world safer for kids and their families. FOSI convenes the top thinkers and practitioners in government, industry and the nonprofit sectors to collaborate and innovate and to create a “culture of responsibility” in the online world.
Prior to FOSI, Stephen was the Founder and CEO of the Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA) and led a team which developed the world’s leading content labeling system on the web. While with ICRA, Stephen served on the US Child Online Protection Commission (COPA) in 2000 and was named one of the Top 50 UK Movers and Shakers, Internet Magazine, 2001.
In 1994, Stephen was named the first Executive Director of the Recreational Software Advisory Council (RSAC) which created a unique self-labeling system for computer games and then, in 1996, Stephen launched RSACi – a forerunner to the ICRA website labeling system. For his efforts in online safety, Stephen was given the 1998 Carl Bertelsmann Prize in Gutersloh, Germany, for innovation and responsibility in the Information Society and was invited to the first and subsequent White House Internet Summits during the Clinton Administration.
Stephen’s other positions include the Executive Director of the National Stepfamily Association (UK); General Secretary of the Islington Voluntary Action Council; Executive Director of Camden Community Transport as well as management positions at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (London) and Inter-Action. Stephen’s first job was with Burroughs Machines (now Unisys) and he had a spell working for West Nally Ltd – a sports sponsorship PR company.
Stephen received a BA, magna cum laude, in Psychology from University College, Cardiff, Wales in 1977. A native of Washington, DC, Stephen spent many years in the UK and is now has dual citizenship. He writes regularly for the Huffington Post, appears often on TV and has appeared on nationally syndicated TV and radio programs such as MSNBC, CNN, NPR and the BBC and has been interviewed by leading newspapers such as the Washington Post, New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, radio and in the mainstream press. He has given presentations and spoken in 15 countries on 4 continents.
Vice President of Policy
Future of Privacy Forum
John Verdi is Vice President of Policy at the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF), a Washington, DC-based think tank that seeks to advance responsible data practices. FPF is supported by the chief privacy officers of more than 110 leading companies, several foundations, and an advisory board comprised of leading academics and advocates. John supervises FPF’s policy portfolio, which seeks to advance FPF’s agenda on a broad range of issues, including: Big Data; Ethics; Connected Cars; Smart Communities; the Internet of Things; Drones; Wearable Technologies; De-Identification; and Student Privacy.
John previously served as Director of Privacy Initiatives at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, where he crafted policy recommendations for the US Department of Commerce and President Obama regarding technology, trust, and innovation. John led NTIA’s privacy multistakeholder process, which crafted best practices regarding unmanned aircraft systems, facial recognition technology, and mobile apps. Prior to NTIA, he was General Counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), where he oversaw EPIC’s litigation program. John earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2002 and his B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Law from SUNY-Binghamton in 1998.
Julie Inman Grant is the eSafety Commissioner. Julie has extensive experience in the non-profit and government sectors, and spent two decades working in senior public policy and safety roles in the tech industry at Microsoft, Twitter, and most recently Adobe.
Julie’s career began in Washington DC, working in the US Congress and the non-profit sector before taking on a role at Microsoft. Julie’s experience at Microsoft spanned 17 years, serving as one of the company’s first and longest-standing government relations professionals, ultimately in the role of Global Safety Director for safety policy and outreach.
At Twitter, Julie headed up Public Policy for Australia and South East Asia, managing a range of public policy issues, including online safety and countering violent extremism. Julie also built Twitter’s ‘Rules and Tools’ for safety, and conceptualised and piloted #PositionofStrength, which now serves as Twitter’s global female safety and empowerment program.
Most recently, Julie served as Director of Government Relations Asia Pacific at Adobe, where she worked with governments across the region on issues such as innovation and digital transformation, creativity and STEM skills development and cybersecurity.