Neal O’Farrell is widely regarded as one of the longest-serving security and privacy experts. In the late 1980s, while still in his twenties, Neal was awarded the first contract to encrypt Ireland’s joint banks national ATM network. He was also one of the first crypto entrepreneurs to come into conflict with the NSA for his work in advanced speech encryption, an experience chronicled in his upcoming book The Man from Intrepid.
Today Neal is focused on the growing role and value of data ethics training as a way to reduce security and privacy risks, by teaching all employees how to view and handle sensitive data differently. Neal is credited with developing the first Data Ethics Workplace Code of Conduct, as well as the first employee data ethics security training program. He currently serves as Data Ethics Advocate for a growing number of organizations, promotes the teaching of data ethics at the university and high school level, and is currently helping in the development of an ethics cluster for the NIST/DHS GCTC Smart and Secure Cities and Communities Initiative.
Neal is founder and Executive Director of the non-profit Identity Theft Council, winner of the 2011 SC Magazine Editors Choice Award, presented during the RSA Conference in San Francisco. In 2015 he was honored as the first ever recipient of the Eigen Award, presented by the International Association of Certified Fraud Examiners at the headquarters of Wells Fargo Bank in San Francisco.
Neal was also a member of the advisory board of the nation’s first Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Program, launched in California in 2016, and is currently a member of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (a part of NIST) K12 subcommittee. His most ambitious program so far is Foster Warriors, a Cincinnati-based non-profit with a mission to help the nation’s half a million foster kids pursue studies and careers in cybersecurity.