A Big Piece from the Big Data Privacy Cake


As the RSA makes a really big push about using big data to help business protect their information, according to executive chairman Art Caviello privacy advocates who are concerned about the ‘big brother’ facets of technology need to educate themselves, just as security companies need to.

During his speech at the RSA Conference Asia Pacific in Singapore, Coviello said that he was slightly amused by the privacy advocates and how they were troubled about, “big business and big brother governments” and how they might violate the privacy of users.

His source of hilarity stems from the fact that hackitivists, ‘rouge nations’ and criminals are already using technology to violate people’s privacy.

However, Coviello does not see this as a way for security organizations to be irresponsible when it comes to using Big Data under the validation of privacy being ‘dead’. Instead, he said that it emphasizes the need for security organizations to engage themselves in collaboration with privacy groups who are completely unaware of how big data could be used to prevent any form of criminal activity.

“I’m all for privacy. That needs to be understood,” Coviello during an interview with ZDNet, emphasized on the idea that privacy groups needed to educate themselves with the security side of what’s going on with user privacy.

“They need to be comforted with what can be done to protect privacy with security; how we might be able to ensure that we redact names, that we anonymise information. There’s a whole host of techniques that can be used to complete the mission without necessarily violating privacy.”

Coviello said that dialogue shouldn’t be a one way street, it shouldn’t just be other security companies along with the RSA advising privacy advocates not to worry.

He further went onto say that, “The privacy people would get an opportunity to educate us and say, ‘You arrogant technologists, why don’t you listen and hear our concerns?’ and again, we should.

“I’m a big believer in if you get reasonable people in a room together, there will be a reasonable outcome, and it’ll be quickly apparent who would be unreasonable or not.”

However at the moment, he said there are no privacy groups who are trying create a dialogue with the RSA about the privacy concerns while using big data. Coviello said that he would appreciate anyone who would want to voice their concerns and would welcome this great opportunity.

One of the most significant breakthroughs that big data could bring in the near future would include solving attribution problems to even apprehending criminals.

Although, Big data makes the process of figuring out what happened after the felony much quicker, Coviello believes that the technology could become even more faster as well as better and the possibility of apprehending criminals would become more likely.

“You’ll be able to detect it timely enough to potentially trace it while it’s going on. That may require the cooperation of law enforcement, ISPs, and others. I don’t think there would be very many companies that could do that, but if you can detect it fast enough, that makes it a lot easier to trace it,” he said.

“You want to get to the victim while he’s still breathing, and use the forensic capability to find out where the wound is so you can treat it fast as possible. There’s a big difference between a dead and cold body, and something that’s happening in real time.”

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