Very important and well-expressed article from Bruce Schneier. This guy really gets the intersection of security, privacy, and liberty – and the connected threats to all three. For me, the major threat of the ever-increasing intrusiveness of government and corporate surveillance is the fact that history shows these organizations are completely inept in their data security.
So not only do the credit rating agencies claim to own your data about you, they don’t even keep it safe; and as Bruce says in this article, it’s the consumer who bears the cost of dealing with the aftermath of such losses. I’ve lost track of the number of times my credit cards have been re-issued (with a new number) because of data losses at retailers or payment processing companies. And then my newspaper subscription, or EZ-Pass stops working because I have to get on the phone to notify vendors of new CC details. What recourse did I get from the companies? In one case (yes I’m looking at you, TJ Maxx) it was a one-day offer of a 10% discount – thanks, that should cover it.
This is an issue that needs to be addressed, but has been under the radar because most politicians have no concept of “the cloud” or the value (good or bad) of data mining. Corporations have demonstrated that they can’t be trusted, so government needs to step in and legislate. And while they are at it, the same legislation needs to completely reevaluate the same practices within government.
But I’m not going to hold my breath. And I’ll continue to treat webmail as if it were a postcard.