Caspar Bowden at the Congress on Privacy & Surveillance (2013) of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
19 August 1961|
|Died||9 July 2015
|Cause of death||Melanoma|
|Alma mater||Magdalene College, Cambridge|
|Known for||Humans Rights and privacy advocacy|
|Relatives||Simon Bowden (brother)|
|Awards||Winston award (2000)|
Caspar Pemberton Scott Bowden (19 August 1961 – 9 July 2015) was a British privacy advocate, formerly chief privacy adviser at Microsoft. Styled as "an independent advocate for information privacy rights, and public understanding of privacy research in computer science", he was on the board of the Tor anonymity service. Having predicted US mass surveillance programmes such as PRISM from open sources, he gathered renewed attention after the Snowden leaks vindicated his warnings.
Bowden served on the Executive Committee of Scientists for Labour and helped shape the stance of the Labour Party on the matter. In 1997, he entered the world of privacy advocacy when he attended the Scrambling for Safety event organised by Simon Davies at the London School of Economics. After the Labour won power in 1997 and reneged on its promises, considering instead to enforce mandatory cryptographic backdoors, Bowden co-founded the Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR) in May 1998. He became its first director, earning the Winston award in 2000 for his work against the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.
In 2002, Bowden joined Microsoft; he served as Senior Privacy Strategist for Europe, the Middle East and Africa until 2004, and became Chief Privacy Adviser for 40 countries in 2005. During his tenure, he expressed vocal opposition against the Human Rights discrimination between US citizens and foreigners enforced by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which he dubbed being "guilty of being a foreigner". His public advocacy led to his dismissal from Microsoft in 2011, after he stated that "If you sell Microsoft cloud computing to your own governments then this law (FISA) means that NSA can conduct unlimited mass surveillance on that data."
In 2012, prior to the Snowden leaks, he authored the Note on privacy and Cloud computing, forewarning that the USA utilised European reliance on cloud computing services to monitor its data. After Snowden's disclosures vindicated him, he criticized PRISM, stating he had suspected the existence of the project during his time at Microsoft, although he had not known it by name. In winter 2014, he gave a talk on the subject at the 31st Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg, The Cloud Conspiracy, detailing how he had worked out the shape of PRISM from open sources, and the lack of reaction to his warnings to European Union institutions.
In 2013, Bowden briefed the European Parliament on the FISA law. In an interview to The Guardian, he stated that he did not trust Microsoft. Instead, he advocated the use of Tor and Qubes OS. In October, he joined the Advisory Council of the Open Rights Group.
Bowden died of melanoma in Southern France on 9 July 2015 at the age of 53. He was survived by his wife Sandi. Jacob Appelbaum reported that on his deathbed, Bowden asked "that we work to ensure equal protection regardless of nationality". He was posthumously awarded the The Liberty Lifetime Achievement Award (2015) and EFF Pioneer Award (2015).
The Caspar Bowden Legacy Fund for privacy advocacy and technology was founded on 12 July, with an initial staff comprising Bart Preneel (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven), Claudia Diaz (KU Leuven), Roger Dingledine (The Tor Project, Inc) and George Danezis (University College London).
- Bowden, Caspar: "Closed Circuit Television For Inside Your Head: Blanket Traffic Data Retention and the Emergency Anti-Terrorism Legislation", Computer and Telecommunications Law Review, March 2002.
- Bowden, Caspar: "The US surveillance programmes and their impact on EU citizens' fundamental rights", Directorate-General for Internal Policies, Policy Department C (Citizen's Rights and constitutional affairs), European Parliament, 2013
- Bowden, Caspar: "The Cloud Conspiracy 2008–2014: how the EU was hypnotised that the NSA did not exist" (video), 31st Chaos Communication Congress (31C3)
- Bowden, Caspar: Chapter Five Part I: Data preservation instead of data retention, chapter of Why the Snoopers’ Charter is the wrong approach: A call for targeted and accountable investigatory powers, report of the Open Rights Group.
- Ross Anderson. "Caspar Bowden obituary". the Guardian.
- In Memoriam: Caspar Bowden, Danny O'Brien, Electronic Frontier Foundation, 9 July 2015
- Caspar Bowden, European Privacy Advocate, Dies at 53, Ania Nussbaum, Wall Street Journal blog, 10 July 2015
- caspar bowden. "Caspar Bowden". academia.edu.
- The Tor Project, Inc. "Tor". torproject.org.
- Caspar Bowden, tireless defender of online privacy, dies, Ars Technica
- Simon Davies (10 July 2015). "Obituary: Caspar Bowden, a fearless privacy pioneer". The Conversation.
- "On Prism, the Snooper's Charter, whistleblowers, spies and secret courts — what can we say?". openDemocracy. 2013-06-18. Retrieved 2013-10-08.
- Charles Arthur in Lausanne (2013-09-30). "Ex-Microsoft privacy adviser: I don't trust company". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-10-08.
- RIP Caspar, Ray Corrigan
- Ex-Microsoft Chief Privacy Officer Warns About Cloud Surveillance, cloudwards.net, Vladimir Covic, 8 January 2015
- I got fired 3 yrs ago for telling @Microsoft this. Tweet by Caspar Bowden
- "Interview with Caspar Bowden: Tracing the (Mis)steps to the PRISM Revelation - LSE Media Policy Project". lse.ac.uk.
- Caspar Bowden, NSA Hearing LIBE European Parliament, 24 September 2013, European Parliament AV Service
- (1). How to wiretap the Cloud (without anybody noticing) by Caspar Bowden (PRISM). YouTube. 11 June 2013.
- The Cloud Conspiracy 2008–2014: how the EU was hypnotised that the NSA did not exist, CCC-TV
- Ex-Microsoft privacy adviser: I don't trust company, The Guardian, 30 September 2013
- Outspoken privacy campaigner Caspar Bowden dies after battle with cancer, The Guardian, Samuel Gibbs, 10 July 2015
- Caspar Bowden, Jim Killock, Open Rights Group, 10 July 2015
- Caspar Bowden, UK privacy pioneer, mourned by tech industry, BBC, Dave Lee
- In the hospital @CasparBowden asked that we work to ensure equal protection regardless of nationality. Privacy is a universal human right, Jacob Appelbaum, Twitter post, 9 July 2015
- Human Rights Awards 2015: Liberty recognises fearless activists at the forefront of the battle for our rights, Liberty, 8 September 2015
- EFF Announces 2015 Pioneer Award Winners: Caspar Bowden, Citizen Lab, Anriette Esterhuysen and the Association for Progressive Communications, and Kathy Sierra, EFF, 24 September 2015
- "Caspar Bowden's Privacy Advocacy Legacy". ucl.ac.uk.
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