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Defining Security: The Difference Between Safety & Privacy
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RetiredUser,
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6/30/2017 | 12:51:40 PM
The Popularity of Privacy Over Security
I credit this confusion some folks have (not just outside the industry but inside, too) between the definitions of these two words to the very successful campaigns of groups like the Free Software Foundation and Electronic Frontier Foundation.  Encouraging encryption, the use of tools like PGP/GnuPG and leveraging the legal genius of folks like Eben Moglen (Software Freedom Law Center) successfully framed a dialog about "privacy" that slowly became part of the popular consciousness, eventually inseparable from our conversation about "security" because the tools to secure both often were the same, or overlapped.  I like these folks, so I'm not saying what they do isn't important but it still contributed to this confusion, IMHO.

Stories about folks like Aaron Swartz (R.I.P.), Ed Snowden and Julian Assange also then became more about the "privacy" discussion than "security" when, in many cases, it really should have started with a discussion about security.  I'm not taking a stance against privacy, or making a comment for or against these folks or organizations like Anonymous.  Rather, I'm pointing to the evolution of how we as consumers of word meaning and media stories got here.  I also see a lot of credit going to the tech legal eagles who have fought hard to blur lines to secure rights to "privacy" for the individual but also (not intentionally, I'm sure) threatening "security" in the process by 1) causing this confusion in meaning and 2) putting "privacy" as a proposed "right" before the rights of all consumers to have access to "security" in the products they use, the transactions they make, the information they obtain.

I think this is not just about defining each word clearly when defining your project or selling a solution, but it is also about making sure the frenzy behind "privacy" doesn't put your "security" project at risk, a situation I'm sure many an Enterprise Desktop, Mobile and Email security team has run into.

 

 


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