Ryan

Albany Times Union - Sunday - - OBIT­U­AR­IES - Rachel.sil­ber­stein@time­sunion. com 518-454-5449 ▶

vacy ad­vo­cates, who say it didn’t go far enough. Ryan be­lieves the coun­try should also look to Europe, which in 2016 passed its Gen­eral Data Pro­tec­tion Reg­u­la­tions, pri­vacy rules that em­power con­sumers to con­trol their own data.

In fundrais­ing, Ryan is a front run­ner with $1.3 mil­lion raised, closely tail­ing at­tor­ney An­to­nio Del­gado and cor­po­rate ex­ec­u­tive Brian Flynn, ac­cord­ing to fed­eral elec­tion fil­ings.

Some of those con­tri­bu­tions have raised eye­brows. Ryan is sup­ported by vet­er­ans groups and has so­licited much of his cam­paign cash from for­mer col­leagues at data an­a­lyt­ics firms who may stand to gain from fewer con­trols on the in­dus­try. He has re­ceived about $35,000 in cam­paign do­na­tions from em­ploy­ees of Palan­tir Tech­nolo­gies and $15,975 from mem­bers of Datam­inr, ac­cord­ing anal­y­sis from Open Se­crets.

Ryan says the con­trib­u­tors are tech in­dus­try friends who share his views on con­sumer pri­vacy, not­ing that com­pa­nies he has worked for turn down projects that con­flict with their com­mit­ment to civil lib­er­ties.

Be­cause the in­dus­try is cur­rently un­reg­u­lated, he said, “peo­ple ap­proach you all the time and you have to weigh it and make hard de­ci­sions.”

His first-hand ex­pe­ri­ence run­ning up against the eth­i­cal bound­aries of the in­dus­try make him uniquely qual­i­fied to serve in Congress, he said.

“We are very far be­hind in defin­ing pri­vacy laws and I think one of my strengths in Congress is know­ing where to draw that eth­i­cal line,” Ryan said.

At least one lo­cal civic group has en­dorsed Ryan — along with for­mer Gov. An­drew Cuomo staffer Gareth Rhodes — be­cause of his ex­per­tise in the tech­nol­ogy sec­tor, as well as his “down to earth de­meanor.”

“He would cur­tail the abil­ity of pri­vate com­pa­nies to col­lect per­sonal data,” Ob­long Val­ley In­di­vis­i­ble wrote in its en­dorse­ment. “He takes the po­si­tion that peo­ple should con­trol their own data. He is also a sup­porter of in­ter­net neu­tral­ity.”

Pri­vacy ad­vo­cates, alarmed by the ris­ing inf lu­ence of the ad­ver­tis­ing lobby in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., don’t all see it that way.

“You can make a cred­i­ble case that a cer­tain amount of data col­lec­tion is nec­es­sary abroad for na­tional se­cu­rity pur­poses and if there is a court or­der, for do­mes­tic pur­poses, but any­one who works in the data in­dus­try doesn’t have the av­er­age con­sumer in mind,” said Jef­frey Ch­ester, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Cen­ter for Dig­i­tal Democ­racy.

In­ci­den­tally, the two com­pa­nies Ryan co-founded, Prae­scient An­a­lyt­ics and Se­cond Front Sys­tems, fo­cus on na­tional se­cu­rity and cy­ber se­cu­rity, us­ing data in­tel­li­gence to pro­tect troops from ISIS and Amer­i­can cit­i­zens from for­eign cy­ber at­tacks. At the same time, Ryan says he strongly op­poses the 2001 Pa­triot Act, which he says en­abled law en­force­ment to in­fringe on civil lib­er­ties.

Ryan’s other pol­icy planks are sim­i­lar if slightly more mod­er­ate than the six other Demo­cratic con­tenders vy­ing for the con­gres­sional seat, a group that in­cludes agri­cul­tural econ­o­mist Erin Col­lier, at­tor­ney David Clegg and for­mer U.S. diplo­mat Jeff Beals. Ex­pand­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tions, de­fend­ing im­mi­grant rights, mov­ing the coun­try to­ward uni­ver­sal health care and tack­ling the opi­oid epi­demic are among Ryan’s pri­or­i­ties.

He also hopes to help shift the “tone and tenor” of the con­ver­sa­tion in Wash­ing­ton.

“What we’ve lost in our pol­i­tics is ask­ing what’s in the greater pub­lic good and who can ar­tic­u­late and sell those poli­cies in an au­then­tic way,” Ryan said.

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