Service, Security, and the Safety of the Internet


I describe myself as a mission-driven person. I believe using your skills for something bigger than yourself is the most rewarding work you can do. When I learned about White Ops I was—like most folks who join our company—captivated by what they stood for. “Keep it Human” means so much more than eliminating sophisticated bots: it means making the Internet a safer place for my kids, so they can experience it freely, like the web was intended to be when it was created.

I’ve always wanted to bring together my charitable life and my entrepreneurial life. I was volunteering with Covenant House of Newark and currently partner with Saleh Freedom, two groups whose mission is to end human trafficking. It is important to me to give back some of what I’ve learned in my 25 years in tech and business.

One of the core values at White Ops is “Be Good,” meaning that when you can tip the value of the world towards good, you should do it. The alignment between my core tenants and White Ops’ make me excited to bring about positive change.

Change is a contact sport. When I was at American Express and later at Audible, I worked on scaling their products and businesses. But you can’t do this kind of work from the sidelines: you have to be in the huddle; ready to do what it takes to complete the play. Part of that means shutting up and listening. As I learn more about my new team and this new adventure, I intend to do a lot of that. Good leaders know when to stop talking and start listening to those around them. That’s where the learning happens, and I know I have a lot to learn.

I’ve personally encountered bots on the Internet, and I know a lot of people have, too. Sophisticated bots today act just like humans; it’s hard to tell the difference. They can move around websites, click on links, and even fill out forms with real information. I can’t imagine this is what the creators of the Internet saw as the future. Back then, safety was assumed, or at least taken for granted. There’s no defense mechanism right now: there’s no police force for the internet, keeping everything on the level.

I just finished reading “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the Frontier of Power” by Shoshanna Zuboff. Don’t let the title scare you: the intersection of security and privacy is a conversation we need to start having in order to take back our future. I believe the work happening at White Ops is part of that. So, how do we make the Internet a safer place for our kids? What can be done about these sophisticated bots? I’ll shut up and listen.