Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

1/25/2006
12:12 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
Commentary
50%
50%

Privacy: Three Cheers For Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo For Doing The Right Thing

First of all, three cheers for Microsoft! The latest news has the company defending its decision to cooperate with the Justice Department in an anti-pornography effort.

First of all, three cheers for Microsoft! The latest news has the company defending its decision to cooperate with the Justice Department in an anti-pornography effort.The company said it limited the material it gave to Justice to "a random sample of pages from its search index and some aggregated query logs that listed queries and how often they occurred," and that it was careful to avoid passing along any information that could possibly be tied to either an individual human or an individual machine or an individual IP address. All proper and above board, don't you think? Well, think again---the dyspeptic critics who first railed against this on the grounds that Microsoft and the others blatantly violated the privacy of their customers have now changed their tune a bit and are saying that it's no longer relevant whether any privacy was violated or not (and even they admit it was not).

Rather, these folks say, it's neither relevant nor good enough that Microsoft and Yahoo and AOL upheld without exception their responsibilities to protect the privacy of their customers---instead, these "critics" say, the issue isn't about privacy after all---it's about trust. And since they've been fully discredited for their initial criticism over privacy violations, they are now trumpeting fresh charges that Microsoft surrendered too easily or rolled over too quickly or knuckled under or chickened out or compromised or sold out or whatever other ridiculous and derogatory interpretation they want to use.

Here's an example from one of these experts/critics/scolds: "Nevertheless, by not pushing back against such a bad request for data, it leaves open the real fear that they might not push back if the U.S. government decided to go on a real fishing expedition in the future. Privacy may not have been lost but trust was." Hey---are you afraid? Have you lost trust? Do you lay awake at night, sweating about the US government going on a real fishing expedition by trampling over Microsoft and Yahoo to find out what normal Americans do and say online? I mean, look at the thousands---or is it millions?---of Americans who've been tossed into dungeons because the dastardly Patriot Act was used to find cross-matches between people who subscribe to "The Nation" and drink Tsing-Tao beer and have checked out "1984" from their public library? To call this absurd is to give it way too much credit.

Yet these scolds would have us believe that Microsoft has pushed us one step closer to the precipice of governmental tyranny by "giving in too easily." Let's see if Microsoft shareholders start dumping the company's stock in support of the "giving in too easily" criticism. Let's see if Microsoft customers start ripping out SQL Server and Word and Outlook because Microsoft "gave in too easily" instead of spending millions of dollars to have lawyers grandstand and give speeches to mollify the "privacy advocates." Lemme say it again: three cheers for Microsoft and AOL and Yahoo for doing the right thing and ignoring those "critics" whose credibility is diminishing as Microsoft's is rising.

And in a strange way, I'm almost looking forward to what the next volley will be from the "critics" when their "giving in too easily" campaign goes nowhere, because I'm curious: what will be left for them to criticize? I lack the imagination to conjure that up, but based on the track record of these public defenders, we can be sure they'll think of something. Based on that track record, my guess is their next effort won't make much sense to most people, it won't have much basis in reality, it'll be framed in highly emotional terms and doomsday contexts, and the media will give it massive coverage. Hmm...perhaps I've been missing the point all along.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Commentary
Cyberattacks Are Tailored to Employees ... Why Isn't Security Training?
Tim Sadler, CEO and co-founder of Tessian,  6/17/2021
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
7 Powerful Cybersecurity Skills the Energy Sector Needs Most
Pam Baker, Contributing Writer,  6/22/2021
News
Microsoft Disrupts Large-Scale BEC Campaign Across Web Services
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  6/15/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
The State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
In this report learn how enterprises are building their incident response teams and processes, how they research potential compromises, how they respond to new breaches, and what tools and processes they use to remediate problems and improve their cyber defenses for the future.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-7862
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-24
A vulnerability in agent program of HelpU remote control solution could allow an authenticated remote attacker to execute arbitrary commands This vulnerability is due to insufficient input santization when communicating customer process.
CVE-2021-21737
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-24
A smart STB product of ZTE is impacted by a permission and access control vulnerability. Due to insufficient protection of system application, attackers could use this vulnerability to tamper with the system desktop and affect system customization functions. This affects: ZXV10 B860H V5.0, V83011303...
CVE-2021-25923
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-24
In OpenEMR, versions 5.0.0 to 6.0.0.1 are vulnerable to weak password requirements as it does not enforce a maximum password length limit. If a malicious user is aware of the first 72 characters of the victim user’s password, he can leverage it to an account takeover.
CVE-2021-25655
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-24
A vulnerability in the system Service Menu component of Avaya Aura Experience Portal may allow URL Redirection to any untrusted site through a crafted attack. Affected versions include 7.0 through 7.2.3 (without hotfix) and 8.0.0 (without hotfix).
CVE-2021-25656
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-24
Stored XSS injection vulnerabilities were discovered in the Avaya Aura Experience Portal Web management which could allow an authenticated user to potentially disclose sensitive information. Affected versions include 7.0 through 7.2.3 (without hotfix) and 8.0.0 (without hotfix).