Two Examples of Cultural Impediments to Data Privacy and Security

Example 1

Last week an article in the Huffington Post described how 420,000 computers were hacked in the process of creating a GIF-based map of the internet.  There seems to be some debate about whether what occurred was really hacking.  The more important debate is the one framed in the last paragraph of the article:

What these people did to get the information necessary to create this map is highly illegal, but, assuming that they didn’t take any more data than necessary to make the map, is that OK? The map really is a gorgeous intersection of science and art. It illustrates precisely when and where people logged onto the Internet over a 24-hour period all over the world. Are people willing to sacrifice their privacy for the greater good? And, if so, does this count?

Why is even a question?  When did making pretty pictures become the greater good?  We can’t create and enforce privacy protection policies if we’re going to have a “yeah but this is cool” exception.

Reading the comments will give you some additional insight.  Remember, this is the Huffington Post, not Slashdot.

The article can be found here:

Example 2

Data security company Dataguise conducted a survey about security and sensitive information in the Big Data environment. 

Among the findings:

    • 80% of the enterprises surveyed feel it is important to know whether sensitive data is stored in their Hadoop environment.
    • 77% feel it is important to protect access to the sensitive data stored in their Hadoop environment.
    • 33% store sensitive data in Hadoop, including social security numbers, credit card numbers and addresses.

Why don’t the other 20% want to know whether sensitive information is in their Big Data environment?  Why don’t the other 33% think protecting that information is important?  Is there an overlap between the 33% that know they have social security numbers etc. and the 33% who don’t think that it is “important to protect access” to that information?

Don’t count on meaningful data security any time soon.

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