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Microsoft security guru: Abusing data should be a felony

Bob Brown | Oct. 11, 2013
EmTech MIT: Craig Mundie lays down the law on data privacy, cybersecurity.

"Oftentimes it isn't until an app emerges and grows to scale that people start to realize it is kind of creepy," Mundie said.

Such a data privacy architecture would work both ways though, Mundie said. Governments might decide there is certain data that users must share for the common good, such as related to public health or law enforcement, he said. But rules would need to be very clear so that the public is comfortable with how such data is being used, unlike with that found to be collected in the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks.

As for the broader topic of cybersecurity, Mundie lumps threats into five not mutually exclusive categories: hacking; crime; espionage; warfare; and terrorism. Espionage and more specifically, economic espionage — is the one that really has him worried these days, with countries such as China blatantly supporting or at least looking the other way when businesses within its borders swipe intellectual property from outfits in the United States and elsewhere to gain competitive advantage.  

"Over a relatively short period of time, a decade or two, you could see a fundamental undermining of the economic well-being of a country" if such activities are allowed to persist, Mundie said. In the case of the United States and China in particular, the U.S. needs to take actions on the trade front, he said.

For organizations, traditional access control and password-based security techniques aren't enough to protect critical assets, Mundie said. Such assets will need to be encapsulated in more rigorous ways, he added.

One technique Microsoft has been taking for about two decades to keep its friends close and potential enemies closer is to share its Windows source code with other nations' governments and their intelligence agencies, figuring these governments use its technology so they would have an interest in protecting it.


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