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20 years later, unchecked data collection is part of 9/11’s legacy

John Ackerly


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John Ackerly is co-founder and CEO of Virtru Corporation. Previously, he was an investor at Lindsay Goldberg LLC, acted as a engineering programme adviser at the White House and was the Policy and Strategic Planning director at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Almost every American adult recollects, in unforgettable item, “where theyre” the morning of September 11, 2001. I was on the second floor of the West Wing of the White House, at a National Economic Council Staff meeting — and I will never forget the moment the Secret Service agent hastily entered the room, wailing:” You must leave now. Female, take off your high heels and vanish !”

Just an hour before, as the National Economic Council White House engineering consultant, I was briefing the deputy chief of staff on final details of an Oval Office meeting with the president, scheduled for September 13. Finally, we were ready to get the president’s sign-off to send a federal privacy statement to Capitol hill — effectively a federal version of the California Privacy Rights Act, but stronger. The legislation would introduce guardrails around citizens’ data — compelling opt-in consent for their information to be shared, deciding how their data could be collected and how it would be used.

But that morning, the world reformed. We evacuated the White House and the day uncovered with tragedy after tragedy sending shockwaves through our person and the world countries. To be in D.C. that day was to witness and personally know what felt like the entire spectrum of human emotion: dejection, solidarity, disbelief, persuasivenes, resolve, importance … hope.

Much has been written about September 11, but I want to expend a moment indicating on the working day after.

When the National Economic Council staff came back into the office on September 12, I will never forget what Larry Lindsey, our boss at the time, told us:” I would understand it if some of you don’t feel pleasant being here. We are all targets. And I won’t appeal to your patriotism or faith. But I will — as we are all economists in this room — appeal to your rational self-interest. If we back away now, others will follow, and who will be there to defend the pillars of national societies? We are maintaining the line here today. Act in a way that will make this country proud. And don’t vacate your has pledged to naturalnes in the name of safety and security .”

There is so much to be proud of about how the country pulled together and how our government responded to the tragic events on September 11. First, however, as a professional in the cybersecurity and data privacy field, I reflect on Larry’s advice, and many of the critical lessons learned in the years that followed — especially when it comes to defending the pillars of our society.

Even though our collective remembrances of the working day still feel fresh, 20 times have legislated, and we now understand the vital role that data played in the months leading up to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But, unfortunately, we failed to connect the dots that could have saved thousands of lives by harbouring ability data too closely in disparate locations. These data silos blurred the specific characteristics that would have been clear if only a framework had been in place to share information securely.

So, we told ourselves, “Never again,” and government officials set out to increase the amount of intelligence they are unable to meet — without reflecting through significant outcomes for not only our political liberty but too the security of our data. So, the Patriot Act came into effect, with 20 years of surveillance applications from knowledge and law enforcement agencies crammed into the bill. Having been in the apartment for the Patriot Act negotiations with the Department of Justice, I can confidently say that, while the intentions may have been understandable — to prevent another terrorist attack and protect our parties — the downstream negative consequences were broom and undeniable.

Domestic wiretapping and mass surveillance became the norm, chipping away at personal privacy, data security and public trust. This grade of surveillance regulate a perilous precedent for data privacy, meanwhile yielding marginal develops in the fight against terrorism.

Unfortunately, the federal privacy statute that we had hoped to bring to Capitol Hill the very week of 9/11 — the greenback that would have solid individual privacy protections — was mothballed.

Over the subsequent years, it became easier and cheaper to collect and store massive amounts of surveillance data. As a answer, tech and shadow giants promptly scaled up and dominated the internet. As more data was collected( both by the public and the private sectors ), more and more parties gained visibility into individuals’ private data — but no meaningful privacy protections were put in place to accompany that expanded access.

Now, 20 years later, we find ourselves with a deluge of unfettered data available and access, with behemoth tech companies and IoT manoeuvres collecting data points on our campaigns, dialogues, friends, families and mass. Massive and costly data leaks — whether from ransomware or simply misconfiguring a shadow container — have become so common that they barely clear the figurehead page. As a answer, public trust has deteriorated. While privacy should be a human right, it’s not one that’s being protected — and everyone knows it.

This is evident in the humanitarian crisis we have seen in Afghanistan. Just one example: Tragically, the Taliban have hijacked U.S. armed designs that contain biometric data on Afghan citizens who supported coalition forces — data that they are able to make it easy for the Taliban to identify and track down those individuals and their families. This is a worst-case scenario of confidential, private data falling into the wrong pass, and we did not do enough to protect it.

This is unacceptable. Twenty years on, we are once again telling ourselves, “Never again.” 9/11 should have been a reckoning of how we manage, share and safeguard intelligence data, but we still have not gotten it right. And in both cases — in 2001 and 2021 — the direction we oversee data has a life-or-death impact.

This is not to say we aren’t making progress: The White House and U.S. Department of Defense have turned a spotlight on cybersecurity and Zero Trust data protection this year, with an exec prescribe to spur action toward fortifying federal data systems. The good word is that we have the technology we need to safeguard this sensitive data while still obligating it shareable. In addition, we are able to placed contingency plans in place to prevent data that falls into the wrong entrusts. But, regrettably, we just aren’t moving fast enough — and the slower we to resolve this problem of fasten data conduct, the more innocent lives will be lost along the way.

Looking ahead to the next 20 times, we have an opportunity to rebuild trust and transform the way we cope data privacy. First and foremost, there is a requirement to leant some guardrails in place. We need a privacy frame that yields types independence over their own data by default.

This, of course, means that public- and private-sector organizations have to do the technical, behind-the-scenes work to make this data ownership and control possible, tying name to data and conceding owned back to the individual. This is no longer a immediate or simple determine, but it’s achievable — and needed — to protect our beings, whether U.S. citizens, tenants or collaborators worldwide.

To accelerate the adoption of such data protection, we need an ecosystem of free, accessible and open root solutions that are interoperable and flexible. By layering field of data protection and privacy in with existing processes and solutions, authority entities can securely compile and aggregate data in a way that divulges the big picture without accommodation beings’ privacy. We have these capabilities today, and it is high time to leveraging them.

Because the truth is, with the sheer work of data that’s being gathered and collected, there are far more opportunities for American data to fall into the wrong mitts. The manoeuvres seized by the Taliban are just a tiny fraction of the data that’s currently at stake. As we’ve seen so far this year, nation-state cyberattacks are rising. This threat to human life is not going away.

Larry’s utterances from September 12, 2001, still resonate: If we back away now, who will be there to defend the pillars of national societies? It’s up to us — public- and private-sector technology governors — to protect and attack the privacy of our beings without endangering their freedoms.

It’s not too late for us to rebuild public trust, starting with data. But, 20 years from now, will we looked at on this decade as a turning point in protecting and sustaining beings’ right to privacy, or will there continues to be saying, “Never again,” over and over again?

Read more: feedproxy.google.com

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