Training: 8–9 November 2016
Tutorials & Conference: 9–11 November 2016
Amsterdam, NL

Security by consent

Brendan O'Connor (GitHub)
15:50–16:30 Thursday, 10 November, 2016
The human element
Location: G102 Level: Non-technical
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 3 ratings)

What you'll learn

  • Understand how the Peelian principles of policing—proven by the best part of two centuries' hard work—can serve as a model for a security team to function within an organization


Are you tired of knowing everything, of having people ignore “the security person” because “reasons,” and then having “I told you so” as your only comfort? Sick of the hostile relationship between security and development, security and operations, security and HR, and/or security and everyone not wearing a black T-shirt? There’s a better way.

Faced with the challenge of building a security function into a society that wasn’t sure it wanted one (but which nonetheless needed it), Charles Rowan and Richard Mayne set out what became known as the Peelian principles of policing, or policing by consent, which provide an effective model for running a security group that stands with its organization rather than against it. We are, after all, as the principles state, “only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the intent of the community welfare.” Join us to become a security Bobby—where a commitment to service is mandatory but the silly hat’s only needed if you like it.

Photo of Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor


Brendan O’Connor is a policy advocate, security researcher, and consultant based in Seattle. He works to cross-pollinate software development and the legal/regulatory world as part of GitHub’s Policy team, and was once described by a former coworker as “not the lawyer we need, but the lawyer we deserve.” On the side, he builds security programs, argues with people who are wrong on the Internet about security governance, and runs the Narwhal project/conference ( He lives in Seattle, WA surrounded by radio gear.