Press Release

Computer Security Expert to Speak Oct. 10 at Ohio Wesleyan

October 6, 2016 – by Ohio Wesleyan University

Paco Hope

Paco Hope, Principal Consultant for Amazon Web Services, to Discuss ‘Bits of Our Humanity’

DELAWARE, Ohio – As a part of the 2016-2017 Sagan National Colloquium, Ohio Wesleyan University will host Paco Hope, principal consultant in security, risk, and compliance for Amazon Web Services and co-author of the “Web Security Testing Cookbook” and “Mastering FreeBSD and OpenBSD Security.”

Hope will present “Bits of Our Humanity” at 7 p.m. Oct. 10 in the Benes Rooms of Ohio Wesleyan’s Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave., Delaware.

Of his presentation, Hope states: “We are increasingly digitizing our lives, converting the messy analogue aspects of humanity into digital bits that can be manipulated by algorithm. Can we figure out you’re pregnant based on how you shop? Do we know your political leanings based on the car you buy?

“Sometimes we do the digitizing: we enter our data into tax forms, shopping sites, and school admissions forms,” he continues. “Sometimes it is implicit: where we go, websites we visit, software we use, services we pay for. What do we gain and what do we lose from this digitization?

“There are benefits that society simply cannot achieve without mass digitization,” Hope concludes. “Society seems to have lost some benefits that we previously had, like privacy and individuality. In this talk, we will explore the gains, losses, and future horizons of digitizing our lives. We’ll see the explicit, implicit, and insidious ways that our humanity is becoming ever more digital 1s and 0s and what that means for us as people.”

Amazon Web Services is the leading worldwide provider of cloud computing services for corporations, governments, educational institutions, and nonprofits. As the company’s principal consultant in security, risk, and compliance, Hope helps enterprise customers with security concerns as they move their workloads to the Amazon system.

Prior to joining Amazon, he was the principal security evangelist for Cigital, a global software security consultancy. His experience spans several vertical industries, including financial services, online retail, online gaming, and embedded systems. Hope is also a member of the European Advisory Council for the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, the world’s largest IT security organization.

Upcoming Sagan National Colloquium programs – all exploring “Data in Our Lives” – include the following. All events listed below are free and, unless otherwise noted, will be held in the Benes Rooms of Hamilton-Williams Campus Center.

7 p.m. Oct. 19 – Nathalie Miebach discusses her art, which focuses on the intersection of art and science and the visual articulation of scientific observations. Using the methodologies and processes of both disciplines, Miebach translates scientific data related to astronomy, ecology, and meteorology into complex woven sculptures. Learn more at nathaliemiebach.com.

7 p.m. Oct. 27 – Hamid Khan, founder and lead organizer for the grassroots Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, discusses data and surveillance. Khan also is the founder and former executive director of South Asian Network, a grassroots community-based organization committed to empowering South Asians in Southern California to act as agents of change in eliminating biases, discrimination, and injustices. Learn more at stoplapdspying.org.

7 p.m. Nov. 3 – Travis Ridout, Ph.D., co-author of “Political Advertising in the United States” and co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, discusses data and elections. The Wesleyan Media Project analyzes all broadcast advertisements for federal and state election candidates in every U.S. media market. Ridout also is a political science professor at Washington State University. Learn more at public.wsu.edu/~tnridout.

7 p.m. Nov. 7 – Tristan Perich, an artist and composer, discusses his work, which explores the boundary between data and its physical realization. Perich is particularly interested in the intersection of the physical world and the abstract world of computation and electronics. His “1-Bit Symphony” is an electronic composition in five movements on a single microchip that “performs” its music live when turned on. Learn more at www.tristanperich.com.

7 p.m. Nov. 8 – Pianist Vicky Chow performs composer Tristan Perich’s “Surface Image,” in Jemison Auditorium inside Ohio Wesleyan’s Sanborn Hall, 23 Elizabeth St., Delaware. “Surface Image” is a piece for solo piano and 40 channel 1-bit electronics. Chow performs with the New York-based sextet Bang on a Can All-Stars and is a founding member of DUO X88 and six keyboard ensemble GRANDBAND. Learn more at www.vickychow.com.

4 p.m. Nov. 9 – Opening reception for “Machine Wall Drawing, an installation of three drawing machines designed and built by artist Tristan Perich, at the Richard M. Ross Art Museum, 60 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. Perich’s machines, which will be on exhibit through Dec. 15, create drawings using the precision of computer code coupled with the randomness of the physical environment, such as the ripple of the string attaching the pen to the machine’s motor. Learn more at www.tristanperich.com. Visit www.owu.edu/ross for more information about the museum, including its hours and future exhibitions.

Established in 1984, Ohio Wesleyan’s Sagan National Colloquium annually explores an issue of national and international significance from multiple academic angles. The colloquium forges links between liberal arts learning and the lifelong civic art of informed, involved citizenship. It is endowed with a gift from 1948 OWU alumni John and Margaret Sagan, now deceased. Learn more about the colloquium at www.owu.edu/snc.


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers nearly 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the latest President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.