Why Trust is not Enough?

Trust only is not enough for the Internet. If Snowden has taught the world anything, it is that trust cannot be placed in the hands of any cloud, e-mail or any other technology service provider. Their flexibility in acquiescing to government demands for data should be a weather stick for what to expect from them in the future. Their protests of outrage are only after the Snowden exposure, had this knowledge been not made public in the way it was, it is unlikely they would have volunteered it to the public on their own cognizance.

There is an implied trust in the act of transferring personal information to the service provider, and in such a case it is hegemonyfair to assume that your personal data will be secure, and that your e-mail does reach your intended recipient. This trust has been destroyed by the recent actions of the service provider to the detriment of the individual. This is set to only get worse; there is currently a case pending before the US Supreme Court pertaining to the right of the US to request access to all the data from servers hosted on foreign soil. In all likelihood the US government will win this case. This is judicial outreach beyond the pale. It is one thing to selectively request monitoring individual accounts hosted with in the US, and an entirely different matter to monitor (or “slurp”, an awful word) every single account hosted in a foreign country.

It now seems to be de rigueur to deliberately divert efforts to implement better security, and surreptitiously introduce monitoring into software and hardware. Contrary to popular marketing speak, it should be quiet obvious that the world is not flat; much like gravity it is more representative of a few hegemonies sucking-in the others into their sphere of influence, be it economical, political or military. In such an environment it is hardly even possible for technically nascent nations to have any opportunity to develop their potential. The Internet has increased in importance as it influences more aspects of daily living of the public. Internet has therefore become a source of power in many respects. This means politicians of all colours see the benefits of controlling this new source of power. The real problem is when this control reaches into information held on foreign soil, and does so by bypassing their sovereign legal bodies.

One may have some legal recourse against actions of ones own government, but very little to none when a foreign government commits those same actions. It is inevitable that nations will take some action to stop these types of incursions on personal data, e-mail, and mobile communications of their citizens. A recent case in point is Brazils investment of $180 million dollars to lay a new undersea cable to bypass US providers for Internet services in the country. These actions will be repeated if for no other reason than for governments wanting to stay in power or get re-elected. Most if not all nations will put legal steps in place to at least be seen to be protecting the privacy of its citizens. It is very doubtful if these actions will give any more protection to the individual, but for now the feeling of being in control will be comforting enough.

As a secondary benefit, if the local technology companies needed breathing space to grow and be able to compete then these actions will certainly go to some length to achieve that end. Countries like India and China are unlikely to allow their technology companies to just play second fiddle. They will create an environment were leap frogging, rather than just catching-up, will be the norm. For example, if Amazons e-commerce competitors in India needed a fillip, they were handed one by Amazon in its inability to understand and adjust to the taxation rules in India, and contemplating the winding-up of its business in India.

About KM Mukku

Kick-start, build and manage teams in product development (particularly in the financial domain), and enjoy all in adaptive case management, business process design and business process improvement. Currently holding the position of CTO at coMakeIT.
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