Edward Snowden's revelations? It appears that the answer is "no". Should we be sympathising with GCHQ in the United Kingdom's technical surveillance problems, or should we be keeping pressure on them and on other governments with 'extreme' surveillance policies, he asked. Have there been any UN votes in which the US, UK and Australia have been more isolated than that engineered by Brazil and Germany on this topic?
|Pangaea: an apt metaphor?|
In conclusion Joe asked us to dream about what an international internet treaty might contain. It might provide for lawful monitoring, in accordance with specific criteria and procedures. The physical means of
tapping a fibre-optic cable are the same whether you are enforcing public security or are a private individual, a factor that should be borne in mind when thinking how to control or regulate it.
Answering many questions, Joe amplified on the question of private internets: they might be privately owned or shared by a private-public partnership. The biggest problem facing them is how to appeal to their prospective market. And how do free market principles operate within this market?
The next speaker discussed the evolution of cybercrime. Unlike Joe, he did not avail himself of the Chatham House Rule opt-out, so this Kat will content himself by saying only that he looked very smart in his jacket and tie. This is what he said:
|Your Fitbit: your telltale|
The speaker's interest in this topic was not limited to use of the internet alone, but covers all technological aids to crime. Three dimensional printing and toy aeroplanes are among other technologies that fall within its scope. Singapore and Dubai -- both business hubs -- are the main target areas for cybercrime. The legionnaires fetch the information, which is then worked on by cyber-analysts who sell it to investors. Information on new products, for example, can lead to the creation of 'inside information; that enables investors to gain a lead over the rest of the market.
The speaker then addressed the use of USB ports, which are increasingly found on aeroplanes. Handy for businessmen, they are even more useful for cyber-criminals. Some 'patching' with security measures has taken place, but there are no technical standards or norms for aviation security, nor any implementation model.
|Always a surprise?|
Bitcoin, a decentralised currency based on open source software, leaving no trace of bank accounts, payees etc (there are more than 800 digital currencies at present). Sites even provide for crowd-funding of assassinations. Law enforcement agencies are mere spectators unless they can undertake technically intrusive action. The criminals are hard to find: they are young, super-educated and have not been caught before. Dark nets are self-managed by criminals and are self-hosted, which makes it even more difficult to obtain information about criminals or serve subpoenas on them since there is no legal entitlement which enables the necessary information to be obtained [during questions, it was pointed out that not all dark nets are used for illegal purposes and that the rights of privacy and security of lawful users are entitled to respect, a point which the speaker readily conceded].
The final speaker in this session, who also chose the shelter of the Chatham House Rule, had little time to speak on account of the prolonged questioning of the earlier speaker. He looked at the prospects of a new convention on surveillance, in the context of existing documents such as the OECD guidelines, other non-binding arrangements, provisions relating to security and so forth, and reviewed complementary and conflicting policy issues including privacy, political freedom, business innovation and the use of personal data and the principle of proportionality. He also reviewed the recent ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Google Spain (on which see earlier Katposts here and here), on the presumption in favour of privacy over freedom of information on the internet.
Apology: this blogger could not do justice to this talk, since he had to stop taking notes in the middle of it in order to hunt down somewhere to plug in his depleted laptop.