The debate that began with the introduction of a new Investigatory Powers Bill in the Queen’s Speech earlier this year is still raging. It raises a number of questions about exactly how online communication and security is able to be maintained and protected when you consider the reduction in encryption that is being introduced. By providing virtual back doors across the digital world can you ever really have a secure network? And does unveiling the threats that encryption covers up outweigh the potential risks for personal data? The argument is likely to continue for some time.
The weaknesses in mobile device security are becoming more and more evident with every new app release and technological advance. A recent report estimated that 95% of all Android phones in use are vulnerable to attack. That is a staggering 950 million devices that enable cyber criminals to potentially seize your data and gain access to your networks.
The relatively new phenomenon of ‘Fappening’ began last year with the release of private and mostly compromising pictures of some fairly prominent celebrities. Recent reports state that almost 600 celebrity iCloud accounts were hacked last year, with the alleged offender appearing to access each account over 3,000 times over a 12 month period.
If you are a frequent traveller, either for business or for pleasure, then you may well take for granted the security of the devices you carry. Wherever you are travelling, if you include a laptop or mobile as part of your luggage then it is vitally important that you look to protect and secure your systems for use on the move. More and more businesses are utilising cloud technology to store their data and keep it protected, thinking that this alone will help them avoid leaking or losing their documents. What about the devices themselves though? Are they so vehemently protected? The vulnerability of a mobile device is that, without the required security measures, it offers instant access to files and documents that are no longer simply stored away on a single office computer.
The United Nations is putting pressure on governments looking to relax encryption security by citing the basic human right that people have to anonymity. In a recently published report the UN have defended the use of strong encryption as a way of protecting freedom of speech in the digital age. From journalists and protestors, to citizens who expect privacy online, encryption gives the opportunity to share opinions and debate without fearing exposure. But does protecting this right outweigh a nation’s security? By protecting freedom of speech are we also protecting paedophiles, terrorists, drug dealers and financial criminals?
On Wednesday the 27th of May the Queen’s Speech officially welcomed the Conservative party into power and outlined to the Houses of Parliament, as well as the UK as a whole, exactly what her government intends to do over the next term. For the first time in its history, the Queen’s Speech referred to ‘cyber-security’ and how data collection rules will be amended by David Cameron to modernise how we deal with communications data.
The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) is an independent UK authority that oversees information rights in the public domain. They encourage public bodies to be more open and promote data privacy for individuals. For the organisations who are regulated by the ICO this means obligations that they must comply with. For the public it means access to their personal data and the ability to raise concerns when they believe that an organisation has failed to adhere to legislation.
In 2009 the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) unveiled legislation that required all calls between FCA regulated businesses and their clients to be recorded and stored. The idea was to securely collect conversation data, to ensure that market abuse was reduced and those who were responsible for mistreatment were punished. Mobile conversations were included in this, with calls, texts, instant messenger, social media and webmail all required to be monitored. Although an FCA regulation, mobile communication recording has very rarely been enforced, as the technology available up until now has been so poor. Thankfully this has changed.