Privacy superstar Caspar Bowden passes away

Microsoft's ex-chief privacy advisor, who had some controversial views about privacy, has died

Microsoft's former chief privacy advisor and outspoken privacy advocate Caspar Bowden has died, following a battle with cancer.

Bowden was a great supporter of protecting identities and individuals' digital activity against government and company intervention, believing the cloud created a great opportunity for the government to snoop on everyone.

He also strongly opposed the Regulation of Investigatory Powers bill (Ripa), which was later described as not fit for purpose by the Home Affairs Committee.

Bowden was not shy about talking about other issues too, later revealing he was sacked from Microsoft in 2011 after nine years because he dared to speak out about his privacy concerns. He said after his dismissal: "I don't trust Microsoft now."

Whatever Bowden's views, he was a highly respected member of the technology community and although one of many privacy advocates, his views led to him becoming one of the most loved.

Tributes from his industry peers have appeared on Twitter, all suggesting he will be much missed and petitioning for WIRED magazine to put Bowden as its next cover star in recognition for his efforts to safeguard privacy. 

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF) international director Danny O'Brien said: "Among a community filled with perceptive advocates for a better future, Caspar Bowden stood out as one of the most prescient and the most determined. With a far-reaching knowledge of both policy and technology, he was frequently years ahead of his contemporaries in identifying upcoming issues, and never hesitated to transform his own life and career to better meet those challenges."

Bowden was also a director for the Tor Project, which oversees development of privacy browser Tor, used by many activists and rights campaigners to hide their identities while online.

In a statement, the Tor Project said: "Caspar was a passionate supporter of universal human rights, including the right to privacy. The world has lost a voice of tremendous moral courage."

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