The Internet Has Your Data (Whether You Like It Or Not)

Cloud Cleanup Anyone?

Following on where we left off from my last two articles now we shift focus to what this data collection means to you and me and some impending regulations that presumably give us control but do they really? And if we can’t rely on regulations alone, then what can we do about it to protect ourselves?

Let’s start with the regulation GDPR that is making the rounds or all the right reasons – which for the uninitiated is ‘General Data Protection Regulation‘, a sweeping regulation that originated in the EU and impacts not just EU enterprises but every enterprise that has customers or partners in the EU – that affords controls to end customers – enterprises and individuals. Let’s focus on one such with a catchy title ‘The Right to be Forgotten’ (could serve as a good tag line for an estranged lover’s song lyrics as well) which is really the right to ask your provider to erase every digital footprint that you left behind and. On the face of it, this looks very compelling – imagine I can call Vodafone and say, ‘forget me’ and all my digital exhaust is obliterated. But is that really the case? Lets’ dig in. If every provider needs to uniquely identify each of their customers’ digital trail on a continuous basis, imagine the cost that it’s going to entail. And is it even feasible? Let me explain my skepticism. The average number of IP devices in an average US home was about 25 (laptops, smartphones, smart TVs, NEST sensors, IoE devices …) last year that is likely to double this year. And the amount of data that each of these devices is generating is also skyrocketing. So how realistic is it that providers are going to be able to keep up with this data tsunami and fingerprint these in real-time in the event that I hit the ‘Erase All’ button and they need to bring the Kleenex out?

(Source: oecdinsights)

I hope I have your attention now. So, what we are left with – as enterprises and consumers – then? As enterprises – the answer comes down to protecting your own data. And the ‘easiest’ way to do it is by encrypting everything AND keeping the crypto keys with you. The cloud providers’ response of – we can’t provide you with customized solutions or good analytics – with encrypted data is no longer valid. Good technology like ‘homomorphic encryption’ allows for data analytics even on encrypted data. So encrypt everything, and keep the keys with you. As consumers, it is more challenging. I do want Netflix to offer me a 3 month ‘All you can eat Bollywood movies’ based on my viewing patterns. But I do not want Roomba (yes, the vacuum) to snoop and collect data on me without my explicit permission. So, we fickle consumers, want the cake and eat it too! And for the right reasons. So, anonymizing everything with things like the Tor browser or obfuscating IP addresses is not for the faint of heart. And with the pervasiveness of connected pacemakers, insulin monitoring tools, connected refrigerators – all of which collect and send data to the cloud – there is no pragmatic way of obfuscating or anonymizing anything anymore. So, it really boils down to the contract between providers and consumers that needs to change. Regulation clearly helps but we – as consumers – need to become more educated individually, help our friends and family get educated and demand answers from provider’s aka grassroots activism. If you want to join in on the conversation – there is a brand-new podcast series called ‘The Moral Compass’ that I will be hosting and looking for folks who feel strongly about this subject to join me in the conversation (drop me a line). This is not easy, but pursuing anything worthwhile rarely is.

By Ashwin Krishan

Gary Taylor
Hybrid Worker Risks Organizations are under pressure to secure their remote workers, but they are also worried about the potential impact on user experience. Can they have it both ways without compromise? The pandemic has ...
Harish Chauhan
Adopting a Multi-cloud Strategy Cloud has been in existence since 2006 when Amazon Web Service (AWS1) first announced its cloud services for enterprise customers. Two years later, Google launched App Engine, followed by Alibaba and ...
Cloud Image Migration
Effective Cloud Migration Monitoring The global pandemic witnessed the digital transformation of businesses in the cloud.  Today, even as the world resumes to normal, the end-to-end innovation in business strategies has kept the momentum going ...
Gary Bernstein
Most Dangerous Botnets While it’s no secret that the technical sophistication of cyber-attacks grows exponentially, adversaries often need widespread networks to make it happen. One of the ways to do that is to infect legitimate ...
Bitcoin electricity
Bitcoin Heating? Bitcoin mining or cryptocurrency mining has been widely vilified for it’s environmental impact. Why it does draw a huge amount of energy, more and more of it is coming from renewable sources and ...

SECURITY TRAINING

  • Isc2

    ISC2

    (ISC)² provides IT training, certifications, and exams that run online, on your premises, or in classrooms. Self-study resources are available. You can also train groups of 10 or more of your employees. If you want a job in cybersecurity, this is the route to take.

  • App Academy

    App Academy

    Immersive software engineering programs. No experience required. Pay $0 until you're hired. Join an online info session to learn more

  • Cybrary

    Cybrary

    CYBRARY Open source Cyber Security learning. Free for everyone, forever. The world's largest cyber security community. Cybrary provides free IT training and paid IT certificates. Courses for beginners, intermediates, and advanced users are available.

  • Plural Site

    Pluralsite

    Pluralsight provides online courses on popular programming languages and developer tools. Other courses cover fields such as IT security best practices, server infrastructure, and virtualization.