Risk
10/18/2011
04:58 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Data Miners Urged To Dig Carefully

Government officials tell companies at Web 2.0 Summit that they are asking for trouble if they collect data first and ask questions later.

10 Lessons Learned By Big Data Pioneers
10 Lessons Learned By Big Data Pioneers
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Would-be data miners were urged to dig carefully at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco on Tuesday.

Ann Cavoukian, information and privacy commissioner of Ontario, Canada, and David Vladeck, director of the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection, took turns advising the entrepreneurs and business leaders in the audience to gather only data that's necessary and to do so in a way that respects user privacy.

Cavoukian advocated what she called privacy by design, building privacy protections into products because it's better business and better for consumers. Privacy and business interests are not a zero-sum game, she insisted. It can be a positive-sum game, where businesses can gain better, more actionable information by involving consumers in the process.

Businesses have a choice between privacy-by-design or privacy-by-disaster, she suggested.

"Privacy is about control," said Cavoukian. "The individual should control what happens to the information."

[ Facebook has been mentioned frequently at the Web 2.0 Summit because it has so much data. Ironically, its biggest problem may be that it presents users with too much information. ]

If Cavoukian's vision of proactive privacy protection represented the carrot, Vladeck described the stick. As the U.S. government's consumer privacy enforcer, Vladeck acknowledged that the business leaders in the audience didn't want to hear from him and he insisted that he didn't want to hear about them.

Don't collect data you don't need, urged Vladeck. "It's an albatross that can come back and really bite you," he said.

He urged entrepreneurs to familiarize themselves with privacy laws like the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which forbids the collection of personal information from children under 13 without parental consent. He cited the FTC's recent settlement with mobile app maker Broken Thumb Apps as an example of how companies can get in trouble when they fail to follow the law.

And lest anyone be tempted to ignore the call to self-regulate, Danny Weitzner, from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, spoke briefly to remind conference attendees that the openness of the Internet should not be taken for granted.

Those who have been paying attention to the global tide of Internet policy will know that the tradition of leaving the Internet loosely regulated is being reevaluated in various countries, he said. This is happening not just in countries like China but in European countries like Germany, he said.

The message coming out of these sessions was clear: Be careful with your data, or be prepared to deal with regulators.

View the discussion at Web 2.0:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-8142
Published: 2014-12-20
Use-after-free vulnerability in the process_nested_data function in ext/standard/var_unserializer.re in PHP before 5.4.36, 5.5.x before 5.5.20, and 5.6.x before 5.6.4 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted unserialize call that leverages improper handling of duplicate keys w...

CVE-2013-4440
Published: 2014-12-19
Password Generator (aka Pwgen) before 2.07 generates weak non-tty passwords, which makes it easier for context-dependent attackers to guess the password via a brute-force attack.

CVE-2013-4442
Published: 2014-12-19
Password Generator (aka Pwgen) before 2.07 uses weak pseudo generated numbers when /dev/urandom is unavailable, which makes it easier for context-dependent attackers to guess the numbers.

CVE-2013-7401
Published: 2014-12-19
The parse_request function in request.c in c-icap 0.2.x allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) via a URI without a " " or "?" character in an ICAP request, as demonstrated by use of the OPTIONS method.

CVE-2014-2026
Published: 2014-12-19
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the search functionality in United Planet Intrexx Professional before 5.2 Online Update 0905 and 6.x before 6.0 Online Update 10 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the request parameter.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join us Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to hear what employers are really looking for in a chief information security officer -- it may not be what you think.