Where Do We Go From Here? Security vs. Privacy in the High-Tech Industry
By Rick Kam - Article on February 02, 2016
- Cyber Security
- Data Breach Notification
- Data Privacy
The “face-off,” as described by Dr. Larry Ponemon, boils down to a growing tension between the federal government and the technology industry. Dr. Ponemon said:
I think we’re already seeing the beginnings of this struggle in the disagreements between Apple and the federal government and EU Safe Harbor ruling. With all the international tensions, we are going to see more cyber-terrorism and general terrorism, at the same time individuals are looking for greater privacy protection.
You can see evidence of the growing tension in a variety of surveys and studies. For instance, ISACA’s January 2016 Cybersecurity Snapshot survey of 3,000 IT professionals found that 63 percent believe that governments should not have backdoor access to encrypted information systems.
On the other hand, last January the Pew Research Center found that 49 percent of citizens were more concerned that the government’s anti-terrorism policies hadn’t gone far enough than they were about restrictions on their civil liberties.
Moving Beyond Predictions to Solutions
What’s more interesting than the back and forth over whether privacy or security should be prioritized is what we can and should be doing right now to balance privacy and security in technology.
Here’s the good news: Already this month, we’ve seen government officials and technology leaders begin conversations that could lead to the solutions needed to balance privacy and security in the tech space.
On December 27, 2015, Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), co-authored an opinion piece for The Washington Post in which they propose establishing a national commission on security and technology challenges in the digital age.
The two wrote, “We are seeking the brightest minds from the technology sector, the legal world, computer science and cryptography, academia, civil liberties and privacy advocates, law enforcement and intelligence to collaboratively explore the intersection of technology and security.”
On January 8, McCaul and Warner’s wish for high-level collaboration came true as members of the Obama administration met with top tech executives including Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, as well as representatives from Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and other leading technology companies.
While that initial conversation did not lead to immediate solutions, it did provide a forum for the exchange of innovative ideas. For instance, The Guardian reports that Sandberg demonstrated Facebook's emergency suicide prevention tool, which lets users flag friends who have posted suicidal thoughts. Obama's team reportedly wondered if a similar system could be used to flag terrorist content or detect users who are being radicalized.
At ID Experts, we have participated in similar large-scale, industry-leading collaborations: we are a founding member of Medical Identity Fraud Alliance (MIFA); a founding member of PHI Protection Network (PPN); and we were one of over 80 organizations leading the ANSI PHI Project. We know very well that sometimes the only way to move past seemingly entrenched differences and political debates is to bring cross-industry experts together for in-depth collaborations. The debate between privacy and security will continue and we will continue to be part of the conversation. In fact, please join us at the 2016 PHI Protection Network Conference taking place March 17-18, 2016 in Philadelphia where cross-industry leaders will discuss new challenges and solutions to data security. To register, visit http://www.phiprotection.org/.