RSA 2012: Art Coviello – Privacy Advocates Use ‘Dangerous Reasoning’ – Snoopers Charter
RSA chief and privacy groups at loggerheads over access to citizens’ data
RSA executive chairman Art Coviello has criticised privacy advocates for basing their arguments on “dangerous reasoning”, comments that have already earned him a tongue lashing from Big Brother Watch and the Open Rights Group.
Privacy advocates were quick to criticise Coviello’s comments this morning.
To “suggest the only way to protect against cyber crime is to sacrifice privacy and civil liberties is absurd,” Nick Pickles, director of privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch, told TechWeekEurope. “It is a simple fact that if data has not been collected, it cannot be stolen, lost or misused. The best safeguard for consumers and businesses is for data not to be collected unless it is absolutely essential, and then deleted as soon as it is no longer required.”
As for why Coviello bashed privacy organisations at RSA 2012 this morning, Brian Honan, IT security expert at BH Consulting, suggested security companies and governments were after as much data as they could get their hands on.
Much of Coviello’s keynote focused on the need for intelligence-driven security, which relies on security companies getting hold of as much data as possible, to feed into analytics tools and SIEM (security information and events management) systems, like those that RSA sells.
From the vendors’ and governments’ perspective, security and privacy do not always complement each other, said Honan, who disagrees that people should forego privacy for the sake of security.
“Security and privacy are not easy bedfellows,” he told TechWeekEurope. “But as citizens of the world we have a right to privacy. That is there to protect us from abuse by corporations and by governments.
“A knee jerk reaction to a security issue in surrendering our rights is not the thing to do. We need to protect ourselves, so we need to look at how we do that in a civilised way.
“I have no problem with allowing law enforcement to access that data but under strict conditions, under court orders with the right controls.”