AMA: Tom Lowenthal, Privacy & Security Product Manager at Brave — Jan. 16, 2019

Well fancy meeting you here. You’re looking great today; did you do something with your hair? I’m Tom Lowenthal, Brave’s PM for privacy & security, and I have opinions.

Afternoon tea should include clotted cream, not whipped butter. The world needs more houses, more healthcare, and fewer billionaires and cops. Twitter’s techno-hipster decaf little sibling Mastodon is the future even though I can’t resist the original’s trash fire. Your website needs HTTPS & 2FA and you should support local journalism. Dark grey is the best color but purple is the best *color* color. PGP is garbage and it should feel bad. You should read my second favorite book The Traitor Baru Cormorant but you shouldn’t talk to cops.

I grew up in one of the most-surveilled societies in the world. In London, you’re caught on surveillance cameras hundreds of times a day. When I was a kid, the UK had about a third of the world’s CCTV cameras — but less than one percent of the people. I started out on online privacy early. I saved a few computers from the trash (“rubbish” in the Old Tongue) and recycled them into a Tor relay run out of my bedroom.

Things got more exciting at university, where my hobby of running circumvention tech infrastructure from my dorm room occasionally put me at odds with the powers that be. I planned to get a computer science engineering degree, but found my policy classes more interesting and ended up with a major in politics and minors in computer science and information technology policy.

My professional life has involved working on a couple of browsers. I spent a few years on the privacy and policy team at Mozilla and a while more at the Tor Project. More recently, I was the first staff technologist at the Committee to Protect Journalists. I taught journalists how to protect themselves from scary adversaries, and contributed to the SecureDrop whistleblower submission system with the Freedom of the Press Foundation. In between, I’ve been an EMT, a rock-climbing instructor, a tech journalist, and a hiking guide.

I started working on Brave’s security & privacy team at the beginning of 2018. I’m now product manager for privacy and security. I shepherd security and privacy features and changes from their early stages until you finally see them in the browser.

See the full AMA here.