The end of secrecy

I’ve been saying for the past two decades that in the future we’ll all have a lot less privacy. It’s logical really. As networks and storage technology make it increasingly easier to access, capture and move information, it will become harder to keep secrets. The only uncertainty has always been anticipating precisely how and when the implications of all this is will unfold.

There are many dimensions to this problem, and they’re already becoming very visible. Data leakages will become more common. Intelligence services will have to operate in a more open fashion (though they’ll have vastly more scope for interception). And there will be a growing privacy backlash.

Just in the past week, for example, we’ve seen press reports of data breaches, reports of China spying on Skype messages and UK government proposals to store details of citizen communications and Internet use. We’ve also seen privacy arguments about BT’s proposal to roll out Phorm, a controversial consumer tracking system. There’s a clear trend in all of this, and we can expect it to continue.  

Business and security will need to respond to the threats and opportunities presented by this. As competitors and enemies increasingly exploit the ease of gathering and mining previously private information, we will be forced to do the same. For the past ten years I’ve referred to this scenario as “spy versus spy”. It’s a paradigm shift for all stakeholders. If you can’t beat them, you have to join them.

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"For the past ten years I've referred to this scenario as "spy versus spy". It's a paradigm shift for all stakeholders. If you can't beat them, you have to join them." I respectfully hope that you don't join them. What we need is mainstream reporting of why controversial consumer tracking technology such as Phorm, and NebuAd who are now attempting to follow in Phorm's footsteps, is wrong and needs to be stopped. Tracking for national security is totally different to tracking for commercial gain. Phorm and it's adware technology needs to be stopped before privacy becomes extinct. We need a privacy backlash.
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The end of secrecy? Its never really been a question of secrecy. Its more the end of trust. In effect you can longer trust BT to carry your data.
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Further to prev comment, its possibly not the "end of secrecy" we are seeing... but the end of trust. Confidentiality will always be essential for commercial/political/private communication. If ISPs can't be trusted using unencrypted methods of comms, confidentiality will be restored using strong encryption instead. I think that's something ISPs and Governments ought to fear, but if not, then it will happen. If confidential communication can't be assured, we are witnessing the start of secrecy, not the end of it.
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