Privacy and Security: Faceoff at Facebook (26 February 2008)

From puberty to senility we are being urged to put our intimate details on-line via services like Bebo, MySpace, Facebook, Linked-In and Friends Re-United to be trawled by would-be friends, predators, on-line marketeers, anti-piracy lawyers and information aggregators from Garlik to Google. Almost every site we visit wants our personal details and to put spyware on our systems. In parallel we regularly read shock-horror stories over the loss or theft of the contents of centralised databases and are told to keep our own data safe with shredders and anti-malware tools. How do we ensure the application of good systems thinking to produce systems that are fit for purpose, reconciling ease of use and attractiveness with security and privacy that is adequate for the application? And who decides what is “good systems thinking”, “fit for purpose” or “adequate”? And who believes them?

Dr Ian Brown

Ian Brown’s early research was on the interplay between humans and security systems. Since 1988 he has acted as a Director of Privacy International, the Open Rights Group and the Foundation for Information Policy Research and has consulted for the US Department of Home Land Security, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, Allianz, the BBC, the European Commission and the Information Commissioners Office. He was co-author of the most recent McAfee Report on security issues and has increasingly been quoted on Radio and TV and National Press since becoming a research fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute focussed on public policy issues around information and the internet.