12 Apr

The United States Now Needs To Be Part of Any Privacy Threat Model

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When I was working in the European Parliament, there was one quote that stuck with me: “you’ll never see somebody’s government listed among the threats to a customer’s privacy in their marketing material.”

For all the companies out there wanting to “help” you with your data – mail spam filters, big data processors, cloud services, and so on – there’s always a kleptocratic government lurking in the background and which is an utter and unacceptable threat to the security of that data.

With the passage of the CISA in the United States last week, the bill that has been described as a “Patriot Act on Steroids” and which was dysfunctionally attached as a rider to a budget bill to prevent discussion or even attention, the United States government is now an adversary to worldwide privacy.

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(It always was or at least has been since the 1970s, but now it apparently has discovered it’s getting away with it so well, it doesn’t care even to hide it anymore.) While the US is by no means alone in this data cleptocracy – the British GCHQ, the German BND, and the Swedish FRA all come to mind – it’s geopolitically dominant at this time, whether one approves of that observation or not. Read More