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Intelligence Bonanza

::: nBlog :::

Last week I run into a couple of ex-colleagues who now happen to be working for their respective national intelligence agencies. Our discussion about more sensitive radars and advances in sensor technologies followed the usual track, but their excitement about Twitter, Facebook and Google caught me with somewhat of a surprise. 

They called the increasing usage of social networks an intelligence bonanza – a dream come true. Everything (for them) is so much easier as people reveal all their details online – no expensive eavesdropping or surveillance required. And people do it without any coercion, not only for themselves but to their friends and family too. Everybody is an informer. DDR disguised. 

As we at BaseN run a highly secure data infrastructure for our customers, I find this sudden loss of privacy and confidentiality as a general perception quite worrying, especially as we’re planning to introduce a secure ‘MyBaseN’ service that would be offered to a large user base. 

And the problem is not in technology. Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) enabled data storage and delivery have existed for quite some years with readily available libraries. Users may produce encrypted data that they can share only with people they choose, using X.509 certificates all the way. In this kind of service, it will take a lot of effort even for the infrastructure owner to decipher customers’ data. This is the way services should be built in 2012, unless there are some clandestine uses for the information. 

So, before transforming into a traditional social media product, sit back and think for a while how your ‘timeline’ can be utilized when it is available for your provider to be shared, cross-referenced – and modified, freely. 

//Pasi

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