About the Team | Kathrin

I am very happy that my life’s path has intersected with the team at Public Spaces and that I am now a member of it. Here’s how that happened.

First, I became a dancer well over a decade ago when some girlfriends dragged me into a Salsa club in little Luxembourg. I couldn’t tell Salsa from Bachata that night but I could tell that the people that were dancing there were sharing a connection I had chased through many nightclubs but never found. Many years, lessons, social events, congresses, dance studio affiliations, and the occasional competition later, it was this very connection that I felt with my current partner when we first met on the dance floor. Now, we are running a little dance studio together, teaching on my rooftop terrace overlooking Lake Ontario in Toronto.

The second piece to my story which eventually led me to Public Spaces is my enthusiasm for humane technology. I watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix and have been Tristan Harris’s groupie ever since. His Centre for Humane Technology brought out a wonderful course that raises awareness for the impact of social media on individuals and society as a whole, and the team does it with so much compassion and wisdom, I was completely hooked after the first class. I drew the inspiration for my philosophy PhD thesis from this content and shifted my career from a legal research associate at an AI start-up developing algorithms to predict the outcome of tax litigation to a privacy evangelist. This shift wasn’t entirely voluntary; I needed a nudge from the universe, namely being laid off, but the day after that happened I was thrilled about the opportunity to align my professional journey with my passions. Data privacy was where I landed. It’s the perfect intersection of my legal background, my humane tech enthusiasm, and my desire to contribute something socially beneficial to this world.

I found Public Spaces in a rabbit hole I went down, trying to find individuals or communities that were actually doing something with the things I had learned from the Centre for Humane Technology. Ciaràn had taken the course before me and left a comment pointing towards Public Spaces on one of their community platforms. Those were just enough bread crumbs for me to lead me here. When I read that Public Spaces was built by dancers and that they were still looking for contributors, I couldn’t very well ignore the painting on the wall. I had no idea what I could do to help the team, but they didn’t mind and thought we’d figure something out. At the time, I was unemployed and searching for a purpose and something to do. Liz took me under her wing and I learned about the platform and the ideals and ideas it incorporates. A few months in, I found my calling in privacy and the team just happened to need someone to advise them on privacy matters, how to become GDPR compliant, and to rewrite the Privacy Policy.

I hurried to learn about all of these things and am so fortunate that my first experience with the implementation of privacy regulations is with a team that does not treat it as an exercise of how to follow the letter of the law, but who truly embrace the value it adds to an organization in terms of building trust with its customers or users. Together, we have tweaked the Plug.events platform, which was already designed around the concepts of humane technology to reflect privacy by design principles in every aspect.

While I am now working full-time at a small bank, establishing and running their privacy program, and part-time as content creator at another start-up that builds AI-driven redaction software, Public Spaces will always be the place that believed in me first and entrusted me with the important job of ensuring that the community we are trying to build can come together in a safe space, without having to worry about what we do with their data.

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