Britain reopens privacy debate after attack, presses tech firms | Reuters

Bottom Line — Should companies like Facebook be allowed to create end to end encryption communication apps?  Does this become a tool for terrorist to avoid detection as they plan their next attack?

Source: Britain reopens privacy debate after attack, presses tech firms | Reuters

Will 2013 be the Year of Privacy on Steroids?

Last week we saw how 2012 was ‘The Year of Privacy’.  As I was flying 30,000 feet above sea level after spending time at the International Consumer Electronics Show, it became quite clear that 2013 is going to be ‘the Year of Privacy on Steroids’.  With so many new sites, gadgets, and technology offerings integrating social media into their core functionalities, legislators will be hungry to regulate and legislate. The notion of privacy has become indelibly integrated into all aspects of our lives impacting what we do on a daily and hourly basis. We communicate, we entertain, we consume, we share, we travel – we live.  And as technology and the online world continue to advance, we are seeing the introduction of new legislation that impacts our private lives.

Read more on Huffington Post

 

Hemanshu (Hemu) Nigam is an online safety, security, and privacy expert and CEO of SSP Blue, an online security consultancy. He is also a frequent contributor to CNN, HLN, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, CBS, HLNTV.com, and abcnews.com.  To sign up for SSP Blue’s Weekly News & Info, please click here, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.  See also Hemu’s personal site.

Was 2012 the Year of Privacy?

As social technology continues to advance, privacy continues to get attention from the government, consumers and media. Privacy-based fears and concerns, whether legitimate or not, fueled many of the big privacy events in 2012. The following countdown gives you just a glimpse of online privacy from this past year.

Read more on Huffington Post

 

Hemanshu (Hemu) Nigam is an online safety, security, and privacy expert and CEO of SSP Blue, an online security consultancy. He is also a frequent contributor to CNN, HLN, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, CBS, HLNTV.com, and abcnews.com.  To sign up for SSP Blue’s Weekly News & Info, please click here, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.  See also Hemu’s personal site.


Making ‘Perfect the Enemy of the Good’ Kills Children

Over two hundred years ago, French philosopher Voltaire wrote, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” While it may have been enlightening then, today it can drive our collective call to action.

With so many responding with their opinions about gun control in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. massacre, I write not as a person who grew up taking Exit 9 for Sandy Hook on Route 84 to visit close family friends in Newtown or as a federal or county prosecutor who handled numerous crimes against children cases from murder to rape including those that involved guns, or as a corporate executive who had to find solutions to some of the most challenging online and offline safety issues facing us in the digital century. Nor do I write as a consultant who helps large corporations find solutions to safety and security concerns facing their teen and child customers, nor as the son of a professor who handed down all the great characteristics of a teacher, and nor as the son of a mother who instilled the notion that knowledge must never be withheld from others.

Read more on Huffington Post

 

Hemanshu (Hemu) Nigam is an online safety, security, and privacy expert and CEO of SSP Blue, an online security consultancy. He is also a frequent contributor to CNN, HLN, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, CBS, HLNTV.com, and abcnews.com.  To sign up for SSP Blue’s Weekly News & Info, please click here, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.  See also Hemu’s personal site.

Digital Troops on the Front Line

Imagine you felt passionate enough about a cause to place yourself in harm’s way to support the side you believed in.  Now imagine you could do this without leaving your living room and still step into the front lines of the battle.  That’s exactly what today’s social justice hackers are doing via the Internet – declaring digital warfare against their opponents centered on their vision of who’s right and who’s wrong.  Today’s hackers can easily accomplish their mission by digitally attacking governments, corporations, and other groups they oppose through social media harassment, website defacement, virus and malware distribution, and data theft, leakage, and destruction, just to name a few.

This is their idea of social justice.

 Read more 

 

Hemanshu (Hemu) Nigam is an online safety, security, and privacy expert and CEO of SSP Blue, an online security consultancy. He is also a frequent contributor to CNN, HLN, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, CBS, HLNTV.com, and abcnews.com.  To sign up for SSP Blue’s Weekly News & Info, please click here, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.  See also Hemu’s personal site.

Is Facebook Denying Democracy to a Billion People?

Did you vote? And no, I am not talking about for Romney or Obama. Or anything political for that matter. I am talking Facebook. A few years ago, Facebook was the first company of its kind to experiment with democracy when it provided its users with the right to vote on policy changes and updates. While news of this new social media democracy spread like wildfire, not even 1 percent of Facebook’s 1 billion users actually voted.

Facebook announced last week that it is taking back the right to vote, resulting in severe backlash from the general public and privacy advocacy groups around the world. Users took to their Facebook timelines to address their concerns and to attempt to protect their privacy and copyright rights by posting a long message with lots of legal mumbo jumbo. A bit of research can go along way as this ended up being a hoax fabricated to create a privacy scare amid Facebook’s recent privacy changes.

Facebook provided users with the right to vote back in 2009 in an attempt get feedback about updates to its policies. Since then, the company has tripled in size, gone public, and now has Wall Street stakeholders that it must answer to. Facebook pointed out that the voting process ended up emphasizing ‘quantity over quality’, and the experiment with democracy just didn’t work.

But before attacking Facebook for taking away the inalienable right to democracy, let’s take a minute to think about what Facebook is actually doing. Facebook’s recent changes are actually not new in the way businesses have defined the rules of the game with their customers for hundreds of years in society and now online.  In the online world, we call these rules of engagement Terms of Use and Privacy Policies.  These terms lay out clearly what consumers are allowed to do and not to do and also lay out what consumers can expect from the companies they are doing business with. This is no different to what has always happened in the ‘real’ world, where businesses like Target and Kmart won’t accept returns without receipts, don’t allow more than a few items in the dressing rooms at the same time, reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, use undercover cameras to look for shoplifters, and can search bags when a customer is exiting their store.   Or take movie theaters as another example, where moviegoers risk removal from the cinema for bringing in a drink purchased at another store or for talking while a movie is playing.

Terms of Use and Privacy Policies have existed before Facebook was born, and yet many are blaming Facebook for ending an experiment that just didn’t work for their business or their customers. Democracy is a concept inextricably intertwined with the way governments should govern while preserving certain freedoms.  One of the most quintessential rights in a democratic society is the right for a business to set the rules of how they want to interact with their customers.  Similarly, consumers have the right to choose which businesses they interact with.

Kudos to Facebook for exercising its rights in a free democracy!

 

Hemanshu (Hemu) Nigam is an online safety, security, and privacy expert and CEO of SSP Blue, an online security consultancy. He is also a frequent contributor to CNN, HLN, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, CBS, HLNTV.com, and abcnews.com.  To sign up for SSP Blue’s Weekly News & Info, please click here, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.  See also Hemu’s personal site.

The Facebook Revolt

We talk a lot about the impact of social media on commerce and human connections.  The social media platform has the ability to transfer news and ideas faster than news and ideas can even be generated.  Since the start of what the media is calling the ‘Arab Spring’, social media has literally become something quite revolutionary.

Last spring, the conflicts in Bahrain and Egypt showcased the true power of the Internet, particularly of Facebook.  Before the proliferation of the Internet, protestors spread the word of an upcoming rally or demonstration through posters on city center walls and word of mouth.  Sitting governments would try to quell these movements by forbidding posters, declaring curfews, and outright banning demonstrations.

And then, along came the Internet and along came social media sites like Facebook.  Against all odds, Facebook has become one of the most powerful tools for the promotion of freedom.  It has made spreading the word to organize for a cause easier to do, faster to execute, and more far-reaching.  And yet, the best solution to stopping such an upheaval in today’s times is the same as it has been for hundreds of years – silence the protestor’s ability to speak and organize.  For a government, this means removing the newest weapon from the hands of the people, and that weapon is the Internet.

For many of the protests we’ve seen in the last year, the ultimate goal has been to overthrow the oppressive policies and actions of a government through massive civilian uprisings.  Historically, anti-government citizens achieved their goal by various means – organizing peaceful protests, seeking help from international organizations, taking up arms, and sometimes engaging in violent attacks against the government and military.  All of this remains true today, with the added power of the Internet.  For the protestor, the Internet is a powerful tool for increasing strength, gaining greater and broader support, and reaching out to family and friends.

It’s shocking to a great number of people that Facebook would become instrumental in the overthrow of long standing dictatorships or brutal regimes. People of Egypt used it. People of Tunisia used it. People of Bahrain used it.  When the war ‘ended’ and the NATO participation in Libya finally came, it was announced on Facebook.  It seems as if there is no end to the reach of the Internet, social media, and the concomitant power of Facebook.

The importance of the Internet in a revolution goes beyond the individual.  Foreign nation-states play significant roles during an uprising, and the Internet is one of many tools at their disposal. In many cases, providing Internet support and continued access to the Internet has become much like providing artillery support.

At end of the day, the Internet has become one of the most powerful tools for promoting freedom.  Amazingly, a platform that started as a means by which people share photos has evolved to help topple brutal dictators. There’s no telling where all of this could lead civilization.