In a recent speech at an RSA conference (see article at this link)  Bruce Schneier, famous computer security specialist and cryptographer, highlights two emerging threats to the Internet Infrastructure.

The first threat he labels Big Data. He points out that Big Data is OUR data and more and more is being saved, and it’s being bought and sold.

It is being used to make decisions about us – primarily (at present) advertising decisions. But more and more we are seeing this been used for things like employment decisions or college admission decisions. Government makes the use of this data too. His fear is that right now we are seeing companies pushing for legislation, or more often lack of legislation that limits what they do. These companies are very big, very profitable, and they are big lobbying forces. And they are agitating for more data, more access, less controls over what they can do.

An article in the New York Times (see this link) describes how, thanks to the explosion of GPS technology and smartphone apps, these devices are also taking note of what we buy, where and when we buy it, how much money we have in the bank, whom we text and e-mail, what Web sites we visit, how and where we travel, what time we go to sleep and wake up — and more. Much of that data is shared with companies that use it to offer us services they think we want. It suggests we quit calling these devices phones, or smartphones, and start calling them our TRACKERS

So what can you do? Very little about what you have already “given away” or had to provide to others like a bank when you filled out the paperwork to obtain a loan. But in the future, you can be more selective about what you share, when you are not required to. Remember, everything you put on Facebook may not be visible to anyone but your ‘friends,’ depending on your privacy settings, but it is ALL visible to Facebook. And you can be sure they will make the most of it for their benefit.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!