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Bruce Schneier

  • Is it OK to shame late-paying customers on Facebook?

    December 7, 2015

    It's probably an understatement to say the cable industry hasn't done a good job winning the hearts and minds of consumers. Now, it may be falling even lower. A cable company in Canada this week started posting the names of delinquent customers to Facebook, including its own Facebook page as well as community pages on the social media service. The list included customers' names as well as their overdue payments, which went as high as $1,406.80, according to the CBC..."This is a huge deal," said Bruce Schneier, a security technologist and a fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Security. "You are dealing with this immense power. When someone searches for you, it shows up. How do we deal with that?" He added, "The issue isn't whether people are deadbeats and should pay. The issue is whether the punishment fits the crime." For instance, a potential employer could search for one of those cable customers singled out by the cable company, and decide not to hire the candidate because of the posting. "Now you'll lose your career and your life because you didn't pay your cable bill," Schneier said.

  • Proposed cyberlaw gives feds too much access to our data

    October 29, 2015

    So much for congressional gridlock. On Tuesday, the US Senate voted on the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), a bill to help protect our digital data. It passed 74 to 21 — not even close....But security maven Bruce Schneier, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, said data sharing could pay off in the long run. “It might help prevent the next attack,” Schneier said. “It’s all about learning from the present to protect the future.”

  • Data privacy, one of these days

    October 8, 2015

    For some odd reason, data privacy maven Bruce Schneier is an optimist. It’s odd because, according to Schneier, there’s practically no such thing as data privacy. Just about everything we do these days is under some form of electronic surveillance, with governments and corporations eager to record and analyze our every action. But when Schneier holds forth on Friday at Harvard University, as part of the ongoing HUBweek festivities, he’ll reassure his listeners that the cause is not lost, that our online privacy will someday be ensured. Just give it a decade or two. “It is possible to write laws to prohibit behavior we find immoral,” Schneier said. “We do it all the time.” So it’s just a matter of persuading businesses, governments, and voters that the current level of comprehensive digital surveillance crosses an ethical line. Technology isn’t the issue. “It will take an act of moral will,” he said.

  • Xi Jinping said he wants to stop Chinese hacking. Should we believe him?

    September 25, 2015

    ..How should U.S. officials interpret and respond to Xi’s promise? Can he be taken at his word? We asked five experts to weigh in. Here is what they said...Bruce Schneier, fellow at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society and author of “Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World”. I think it’s posturing. It’s basically the same thing that the U.S. says, and the U.S. hacks foreign government and corporate networks all the time. The problem is that there aren’t any laws that protect foreign networks, and there aren’t any relevant international treaties that limit commercial espionage. So I wouldn’t expect China to be any less aggressive on the Internet than the U.S. is.

  • Living in Code Yellow

    September 22, 2015

    An op-ed by Bruce Schneier. In 1989, handgun expert Jeff Cooper invented something called the Color Code to describe what he called the “combat mind-set"...Cooper talked about remaining in Code Yellow over time, but he didn’t write about its psychological toll. It’s significant. Our brains can’t be on that alert level constantly. We need downtime. We need to relax. This is why we have friends around whom we can let our guard down and homes where we can close our doors to outsiders. We only want to visit Yellowland occasionally. Since 9/11, the US has increasingly become Yellowland, a place where we assume danger is imminent. It’s damaging to us individually and as a society.

  • One of the biggest features we’re expecting to see in the new Apple TV is really troubling for privacy, experts say

    September 8, 2015

    Next week, Apple is expected to make a long-awaited update to its Apple TV set-top box, which hasn't been refreshed since 2012...Security experts, however, believe this could cause trouble. There are a lot of unanswered questions around these "always listening" devices that have yet to be answered, such as how they can use the data, who they can share it with, and whether or not they're using the data for alternative purposes. "[The license agreements] have an extraordinarily wide latitude," Bruce Schneier, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law, said to Business Insider. "And that's a huge worry."

  • Bruce Schneier: David Cameron’s proposed encryption ban would ‘destroy the internet’

    July 6, 2015

    ...Business Insider reached out to Bruce Schneier to discuss the feasibility of Cameron' proposed ban on "safe spaces" online. Schneier is a widely respected crypography and security expert and fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, serves on the board of digital liberties pressure group the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and writes frequently on encryption and security. He didn't hold back..."My immediate reaction was disbelief, followed by confusion and despair. When I first read about Cameron's remarks, I was convinced he had no idea what he was really proposing. The idea is so preposterous that it was hard to imagine it being seriously suggested."

  • How Will The Next President Protect Our Digital Lives? (audio)

    May 27, 2015

    When President Obama took office back in 2009, "cybersecurity" was not a word that everyday people used. It wasn't debated. Then, mega-breaches against consumers, businesses, and the federal government changed that...Now, the 45th president will have to come into office with a game plan for how to protect us online...Cybersecurity expert Bruce Schneier, a fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center, says another way to protect consumers is corporate accountability. "What government can do about data breaches is increase the penalties," he says. "Right now your data is not very well protected because the cost of losing it isn't very high to the companies that have it." Schneier wants to see the next president take on privacy too — what should police be able to access without a warrant, and what should companies be allowed to store. So far, we've just kind of assumed the answer is ... everything.

  • Hidden Talent

    May 4, 2015

    Craig Gentry has developed ways to to keep data secure and accessible that may broaden the use of cloud computing.

  • Two books look at how modern technology ruins privacy

    March 24, 2015

    ‘Even the East Germans couldn’t follow everybody all the time,” Bruce Schneier writes. “Now it’s easy.” This may sound hyperbolic, but Schneier’s lucid and compelling “Data and Goliath” is free of the hysteria that often accompanies discussions about surveillance. Yes, our current location, purchases, reading history, driving speed and Internet use are being tracked and recorded. But Schneier’s book, which focuses mainly on the United States, is not a rant against the usual bad guys such as the U.S. government or Facebook. Schneier describes how our data is tracked by both corporate and government entities, often working together. And in many cases, the American people allow them to do it...The theme of dangerous little brothers is central to Benjamin Wittes and Gabriella Blum’s “The Future of Violence,” a lively and often terrifying exploration of the dark side of our technological age. Technology is increasingly cheap and widely available, a trend that can help empower the masses and weaken central governments. Sounds great, right? We tend to celebrate this phenomenon when individual dissidents use social media to provoke authoritarian regimes. But what happens when these tools of mass empowerment fall into the wrong hands?