Each year about this time, I pull out my foggy crystal ball and prognosticate the future of Privacy and Security! For data privacy and security professionals, this year offers optimism, but with looming mid-term elections and recent significant data breaches, only subtle privacy improvements are likely. Through that lens, here is the 3rd Annual Top 10 Privacy/Security Trends for 2014.
10. Friday Selfie leads to Manic Monday
Posting selfies and other personal data,including momentary transgressions like that compromising spring break photo, may jeopardize future job opportunities and potential spouses! For example, the person you just “LIKED” on Tinder is now researching you on Linkedin, Facebook, Google, and for $19.95 a data aggregator provides them with your complete background including: criminal, bankruptcy, judgments, liens, and other ancillary data. So for 2014 self-deprecation is no longer just for the Kardashians.
9. International Storm, Is There a Safe Harbor?
A 2013 data breach by a government contractor becomes complex international nightmare. EU Safe Harbor could be in jeopardy for 2014. But the future looks bright for continued trans-border data crossings, as international commerce won’t allow the data flows to cease. Look for additional scrutiny and more prescriptive rules for international data. Thanks Edward Snowden! No really. Thanks! If nothing else, it highlights the need for better controls over internal threats.
8. The Spy Who Loved Me…
No love lost here, the NSA admits to spying, but only on non-US citizens. Of course, the rest of the world reads this to mean, “Yea, the United States is spying on our citizens!” International companies like Cisco, Facebook, and Google are economically hurt by such disclosures.
Then again NSA later indicated it was reviewing the phone records and emails of millions of US citizens. I suspect more covert operations under the guise of protecting us against terrorism; the constitutionality of which will likely be determined in the U.S. Supreme Court.
7. Weather Forecast: Snowden, with More Snowden Expected
Citizens continue to feel powerless against big government. Consumer ambivalence continues as consumers erode their privacy for the sake of convenience, and businesses continue amassing huge data stores. So those with access to those data stores, but no “business need,” or those who are able to escalate their privileges with no “business need” will likely repeat Snowden’s actions, assuming the government can still leverage FISA and PRISM like programs. Hey it could be worse, we could be commingling numerous major internet accessible data stores with known defects and little testing. Oh wait, theHealth Insurance Exchange…
6. Connect the Dots
We have been hearing for years that our refrigerator will be able to detect when we are out of milk and add it to a grocery eList. Not here yet, but we have house alarm cameras synched with our phones so we can open the garage door for package delivery after visually authenticating the delivery person. Then again the Chevy Impala now self-diagnoses and sends an email to your smart phone to let you know it needs an oil change and the tire pressure is low. Expect more connectivity between devices (coined “Internet of things”), more data collection as a result and the security of that data to be an afterthought.
5. Facial Recognition on Steroids
Google Glass was just the beginning. Recon Heads Up display is now available, providing real-time data feeds to skiers. Face Rec, an app due out soon that, once “side-loaded,” will record everyone in the field of vision, including geolocation data. So after a night out, you can ask the application, “Who did I dance with last night” and actually review the recorded events chronologically! Not far off, Terminator like recall (ok, minus the cyborg assassin part), where in real-time the glasses scan faces and provide: name, address, age, employer, and Facebook marital status!
4. Digital Currency
No, not Bitcoin, but our continued migration to mobile banking. Let’s face it, uploading pictures of checks from your smartphone is way easier than driving to the bank – especially when in line behind grandma depositing her jar of unrolled pennies. We will continue to see consumers migrate to mobile banking and more nefarious individuals looking for vulnerabilities to exploit.
3. Do-It-Yourself Drones
No longer just for the military. 3Drobotics will sell you ready to fly drones, but unlike the MQ-9 Reaper, Hellfire anti-armor missiles sold separately. 2014 will continue to see the erosion of privacy from recording devices like police license plate scanners, red light cameras, and yesdomestically deployed drones – by the US government and Joe Citizen.
2. Data Broker
An oxymoron, since data aggregators are anything but broke. Selling data is lucrative. So expect data to continue to be collected at alarming rates with no means to verify accuracy, age, completeness or security. We can also expect more transparency on what is collected, as the government gets forced disclosure.
And the #1 Privacy Trend for 2014
1. Big Data, Getting Fatter
OK, I predicted this one last year, and the year before, and likely next year. But ifconsumers don’t demand businesses reduce data collection and data retention periods, we can expect more data collection and perpetual retention. Consumers don’t have lobbyists’ deep pockets, so they need to vote with theireWallets and shop businesses who don’t require name, address, SSN, salary, and blood type to stream a 1080p sitcom. Then again, security and privacy professionals can continue asking their business leaders, “do we really need to collect this data and why not shorten its retention cycle.” Exacerbating the issue, further migration into the cloud; a cloud without international boundaries.
In conclusion, big data gets bigger, consumers begin to voice concern, but don’t take meaningful action, and legislators start to talk about improving privacy, but succumb to the lobbyists who fund their election hopes. So no material privacy legislation again in 2014, unless EU forces the issue or the FTC is granted/seizes incremental power to drive privacy. Don’t hold your breath… Bottom line for 2014 mild tailwinds propel new legislation, breaches increase, but cost of breaches decreases, and regulatory fines/settlements significantly increase. So those who collect sensitive data should take additional steps to protect and those who graciously give up their data for convenience may wish to rethink that strategy upon receiving yet another data breach letter.