Piracy, Liberty, Perspective And Personal Responsibility

The death of Kodak recently made an impression on me. Not that I cared a bit about the former photography icon or their failure to hold their brand together. No, it made an impression because, after all these years, that we’ve been involved in the digital revolution, there are still some folks out there who think this is a temporary marketing challenge, a perception issue for them. Seeing the company that made the first digital camera, and a brand synonymous with photography, surrender its claim to that business, was a bit shocking. We’ve seen lots of businesses make similar mistakes.

We’ve heard it from the recording folks, the movie folks and the producers of ephemeral, tactile, devices that cling to the idea that, if something is embedded on a physical entity, it is somehow worth more, or safer, than if it is simply out there, floating in the ether. Now that everything will be out there floating, how do we adjust our past perceptions to maintain the magic of the Internet, without risking losing our hold on our business and freedom?

At Cloud Connect 2012, last week, we interviewed the head of the Business Software Alliance (BSA), Robert Holleyman, a fine, sincere and intelligent man whose mission is to make countries play fair with copyright laws and treat digital borders the same way we are supposed to treat physical ones. As physical boundaries have shifted, however, so have ethics.

BSA aims to pressure governments to set standards and quit using cyber space as the new substrate for the Cold War, my metaphor, not his. He has an enormous challenge ahead as the gloves are coming off all around us, and no one seems willing to play fair or show their hands.

Not everyone has the same perspective on what we should be willing to do to allow the Internet to be more carefully monitored, with little thought to personal freedoms. From Security Week’s Adam Rice:

“The Hands-off Approach to Monitoring and Managing Threats that Transit an ISP’s Network is Putting Businesses and Government at Risk.

“Nortel was in the news this week, joining a long list of companies who have a problem with the Chinese owning their networks. Nortel had known about the APT problem on their networks for years and did done very little to stop it besides changing the password of the CEO and a few other executives. Shocked? Amazed? Not me. I get it.

“What shocks me is the following: it seems APTs have spread their tentacles all over the globe, everyone knows about them, the U.S. government spends millions of dollars investigating it, and on the surface no one calls the Chinese to the table to spread out the evidence and hold them responsible for the shear volume of cyber theft. Nortel and other companies’ continue to be ram shackled by the Chinese daily. It is an open secret. Millions of bytes of data have been sent back to China in the form of intelligence, trade secrets, and military contractor data.”

Nearly every day we log on to the world, we read stories about abandoning our Constitution and accepting defeat in the eyes of our enemies who seem to be re-doubling daily. We accuse nations, like China, on the one hand, that are investing in our lands, our businesses and our future, of stealing our intellectual property and our junk entertainment, and attacking our networks. Yet we allow them to buy our property at ten cents on a dollar. We watch as the government ignores the rights and liberties of our citizens, daily, and rationalizes it all with the cliché that, if you have nothing to hide, why should you care?

Today, we read in the NYTimes where the FTC uses their top-down influence to shrug off the the Electronic Privacy Information Center, known as EPIC, that sued the Federal Trade Commission in Federal District Court in Washington, calling for it to investigate Google’s privacy policy changes. Google, without sway, continues to provide just about anything they are asked with no consequence for losing credibility:
“Google has said it will combine the user data it collects from all of its different products, in effect compiling what an individual searches on Google with what is posted on YouTube, Google Plus and other Google properties. Google has aggressively been flagging the changes to its customers. The company insists that does not violate its agreement with the government.”

The Constitution Project, with its ironic acronym, TCP, has been concerned by legislation, and legislators, who have continuously sought to undermine our liberty by amending our Constitution. From its web page:
“Amendments often are introduced because they are seen as powerful political organizing tools and are made before ordinary statutory changes have been sought. Some amendments reach the full House or Senate for a vote without a single hearing being held. Mark-ups and debates are limited or non-existent. Some proposals have been given expedited floor consideration and several passed at least one house in the 104th Congress.”

Recently hacks into the “Federal Trade Commission and the Bureau of Consumer Protection were attacked by AntiSec in response to their support and participation in ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, and issues with Google’s recent privacy policy changes.” (http://www.securityweek.com/antisec-takes-down-ftc-and-consumer-protection-websites?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Securityweek+%28SecurityWeek+RSS+Feed%29&utm_content=My+Yahoo )

Their reasoning: “Even more bothersome than your complete lack of competence in maintaining your own f*****g websites and serving the citizens you are supposed to be protecting, is the US federal government’s support of ACTA,” AntiSec supporters said.

“If ACTA is signed by all participating negotiating countries, you can rest assured that AntiSec will bring a fucking mega-uber-awesome war that rain torrential hellfire down on all enemies of free speech, privacy, and internet freedom. We will systematically knock all evil corporations and governments off of our internet.”

On the surface, reading the mission of the BSA and the TCP, one might think these two entities are diametrically opposed. Yet, their bottom lines are quite the same. Education is the key message from both organizations and is needed to show users, consumers and companies that you must get up to speed on the use of where you put your personal information and why you put it there.

In another story on Anonymous, which has international reach,“In the last couple of days, the infamous Anonymous hacker group has released a threat against Israeli websites. Based on ERT experience with blocking Anonymous attacks in Israel and all over the world, we are releasing here a short list of security-policy recommendations. Attacks are expected against Israeli government, public institutions, and other high profile websites starting of today, Tuesday February 14.”

According to McAfee, 4 out of 10 people use their personal mobil phone for business and 51% don’t use passwords. Mal advertising and malicious apps, not all apps are good, pose some of the greatest risks today and few individuals check to see if they need them and how to use them effectively. Submersive Multi Vector (SMV’S) threats, which includes people, processes and technologies target ignorance of users, rather than vulnerabilities. Spyware, mobil and static devices are more vulnerable than ever, GPS and Bluetooth applications need more awareness and should be disabled when not in use and Cloud computing new challenges demand a much higher awareness from people on how remote data is stored and updated.

As we get ready to cover RSA here in San Francisco, we will be highlighting these issues and video taping interviews for your perusal to see exactly what the experts have to say and give you an opportunity to dialog on what you see as important. Stay tuned and visit www.nethawk.tv to have your say and let us know what you want covered next.

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