NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The big data drumbeat is becoming deafening in the technology sector as vendors and analysts rush aboard the latest trend. But one leader in the IT security community is sounding a big warning about big data, and the death of privacy in our increasingly connected world.
Speaking last week at the Russian security vendor’s North American channel partner conference here, Kaspersky Lab CEO Eugene Kaspersky outlined the top five IT security issues that worry him today, and prominent among them was the loss of privacy that the big data trend entails.
“We can forget about privacy. There’s no privacy anymore,” said Kaspersky. “You can have privacy if you live somewhere in the jungle, or the middle of Siberia.”
Too much data is being collected about us, he said. In the U.K., cameras are everywhere. Google has a detailed picture of your online activities, as do other online services. And unless you pay cash and don’t use loyalty program cards, your shopping history is collected and stored as well.
“This is a national security issue. This data can be used not just against people, but against nations,” said Kaspersky.
He’s not sure what the answer is here, particularly with people more and more willing to voluntarily give up their privacy for convenience, but he believes it needs to begin with regulation.
“We should make it forbidden to collect so much information about you. I recognize this as a serious problem,” said Kaspersky. “In some years there will be serious issues based on the fact there’s so much data collected.”
As big a problem as it is, privacy was only fifth on Kaspersky’s threat list. At number four is cybercime, a problem that has been spiraling out of control, but he’s optimistic governments may be waking-up to the seriousness of the issue and taking concrete international action, such as the recent cyber security conference hosted in the U.K.
“I hope this will be the end of the golden age of cybercrime. We’ll see it soon,” said Kaspersky. “With better government controls there will be less attacks and much less pressure on the global economy.”
It’s not a threat per se, but third on Kaspersky’s list is a security solution that he thinks we’ll all be adopting soon: Internet IDs. They’ll be like a digital passport, allowing us to securely access government and private services online seamlessly.
“Kids today are born in the Internet age and they live their lives online. We’re digital immigrants, but they’re digital natives,” said Kaspersky.
Most of them will never go to an election office to vote, he said. That would be a foreign experience to them. They’ll want to vote online, and we need to make sure that can happen, and happen securely, if we want them to be engaged citizens.