Bruce Schneier makes the case for "public interest technologists"

Law school grads routinely go to work for crusading nonprofits and even those in private practice do pro bono work, thanks to a widespread understanding that lawyers have a professional duty to work for the public interest -- after all, understanding and navigating the law is a necessary precondition for freedom and fairness.

Technology is another form of law, and a failure to understand tech can get us into real problems, especially at the policy level, where politicians' failures to come to grips with tech (sometimes deliberately, and sometimes due to a lack of good advice) produces all kinds of terrible outcomes.

Bruce Schneier (previously) wants us to think about becoming "public interest technologists," who work for the public good, by advising lawmakers and policymakers, and by pursuing public interest goals in our technical work.

Schneier defines the term and collects resources on the subject on public-interest-tech.com. You can hear him discuss it in depth with Mike Masnick on the Techdirt podcast.

Schneier gave a brief, stirring talk on the subject at the Royal Society last month: it's 15 minutes long and well worth your time.