In Snowden Era, Online Privacy Crucial: U of G Speaker

January 13, 2014 - News Release

Internet privacy, security and government oversight will be in the spotlight at the University of Guelph when noted software developer Tim Bray speaks to students on Wednesday, Jan. 15.

Co-founder of Canada’s largest software company, Open Text Corp., and a U of G grad in mathematics and computer science, Bray is a developer advocate on Internet identity and security for Google. He will discuss “Internet Identity, Security and Privacy in the Age of Snowden,” 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., in the engineering atrium of the Thornbrough Building.

Online privacy has made headlines with the revelation by former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden that the National Security Agency tracked metadata on millions of people.

“For this visit, I’m going to talk specifically about an area I work on that is much in the news: how we manage identity and privacy in a way that makes people safe and productive, even when we know the world’s governments are trying to look over everyone’s shoulder all the time,” said Bray.

“I will also give a general talk to a Computer Science class earlier in the day on the state of the Web in 2014 from an engineering point of view: How do we think about programming it to act the way we want?”

Bray has worked in technology since graduating in 1981, and was one of the main authors of the original XML specification, a markup language that encodes documents to be both human- and machine-readable.

After founding Open Text Corp., he ran Textuality, a web and technology consulting firm, worked as an independent consultant and then spent six years as director of Web Technologies at Sun Microsystems before joining Google in 2010.

Bray is one of the most well-known alumni of the College of Physical and Engineering Science, said CPES dean Tony Vannelli.

"Tim has guided software development through creating the innovative tools such as XML that are used by all developers,” said Vannelli.

“He is unique in constantly striving to facilitate the development of Internet-based systems, which is no small feat. We are extremely proud that one of our alumni like Tim has had this lasting impact."

Bray, who received an honorary doctorate from Guelph in 2009, said he is grateful for the education he received.

“When Guelph’s School of Computer Science asked me to come back and talk to some of the campus communities, I jumped at the chance,” he said.

“I’m entirely in tune with the University’s current directions, including the BetterPlanet Project. I owe the University a huge debt for launching my career, which has been a rewarding one. To the extent I’ve contributed to the Internet and the online experience, the University of Guelph deserves credit.”

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or; or Kevin Gonsalves, Ext. 56982, or

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