Berkman in the News
One key trend to pay close attention to in 2015 is the so-called “right to be forgotten.”
The concept burst into public consciousness in May when the European Union Court of Justice ruled in the case of a Spanish citizen who sought to have a link to a newspaper article containing unflattering facts about him removed from Google searches of his name. The court ruled that search engines qualified as a data aggregators, which meant that individuals could exert control over the data within them—i.e. search results. To date, almost 200,000 EU citizens have requested Google, Bing and other search engines remove particular links from search results of their names – but critically, only in the EU versions of Google, such as google.es.
Those of you unfamiliar with hacker culture might need an explanation of “doxing.”
The word refers to the practice of publishing personal information about people without their consent. Usually it’s things like an address and phone number, but it can also be credit card details, medical information, private e-mails—pretty much anything an assailant can get his hands on.
Thanks to an unshakable fear that their own gossip-laden e-mails (not to mention business strategies and classified documents) will be leaked to the world, the people of 2015 will finally decide that it may not be a good idea to have a copy of every message you send stored forever online.
A new e-mail tagline will be popularized, stating: “In order to conserve our collective personal and professional reputations, we recommend you permanently delete this email upon reading. Seriously.”
“The FBI points to reused code from previous attacks associated with North Korea, as well as similarities in the networks used to launch the attacks,” said writer Bruce Schneier. “This sort of evidence is circumstantial at best. It’s easy to fake, and it’s even easier to interpret it wrong. In general, it’s a situation that rapidly devolves into storytelling, where analysts pick bits and pieces of the ‘evidence’ to suit the narrative they already have worked out in their heads.”
Schneier also said that diplomatically, it may suit the US government to be “overconfident in assigning blame for the attack” to try and discourage future attacks by nation states.
He also pointed to comments by Harvard law professor Jonathan Zittrain, who said Sony might be encouraged to present the hack as an act or terrorism to help fend of likely lawsuits from current and former employees damaged by leaked material.
“Key to our emerging privacy-creating system will be the ability of individuals to assert their own terms, policies and preferences in dealings with others, including companies and governments …” wrote David “Doc” Searls, director of ProjectVRM at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society.
Between more style-friendly wearables and Apple’s effort to integrate personal tracking data with HealthKit, we’ll see a new surge in consumer wearables and personal tracking data in 2015.
In its first year out, the Apple Watch might only be a luxury gadget for early adopters, but careful attention to personal style preferences marks a notable shift in the design of wearables. Withing’s Activité tracker pushes wearable design even further into the classic watch aesthetic to hide tracking outputs to the smartphone interface. And products like Ringly, a connected cocktail ring, hide helpful alerts in a relatively stylish accessory. Wearables have finally become accessories we actually might want to wear.
“Girls are seldom imagined as potential customers of a new technology,” said Whitney Erin Boesel, a researcher at the Berkman Center for World wide web and Society at Harvard University.Apple Overall health invites customers to determine their sex, but its many other categories are gender neutral as far as I can detect. There are neither concerns about prostate checkups, nor concerns about fertility cycles and breast lump checks.And that is typical with wellness tracking apps, which often attempt to make the solution gender neutral with out a way to customize it. But that’s a challenge.
But Andy Sellars, a First Amendment fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, doubts we’ll see a similar incident anytime soon.
“To me, it feels much more like a one-off,” Sellars said. “To me, I think it’s an exceptional case under exceptional circumstances.”
The United States might already have gone to cyberwar in 2010 by allegedly using Stuxnet, an attack program that damages computer-controlled industrial machinery. The government of Iran said Stuxnet infected hundreds of centrifuges that were being used to enrich uranium for use in nuclear reactors. Cybersecurity analysts believe Stuxnet was developed jointly by the United States and Israel to cripple the Iranian nuclear program, but neither government has acknowledged any involvement.
It could have been North Koreans but not connected to the government. According to security expert Bruce Schneier, “reusing old attack code is a sign of a more conventional hacker being behind this.” There is consensus among security experts that there was nothing about this hack that required the resources of a nation-state.
Both the US Government and Sony Have Political Reasons to Blame North Korea
Sony faces the possibility of numerous lawsuits as a result of sensitive data from employees, ex-employees and various partners being exposed. According to Jonathan Zittrain, professor of law and computer science at Harvard University, Sony might have some immunity from these lawsuits if this attack was part of an act of war.
By BRUCE SCHNEIER
Earlier this month, a mysterious group that calls itself Guardians of Peace hacked into Sony Pictures Entertainment’s computer systems and began revealing many of the Hollywood studio’s best-kept secrets, from details about unreleased movies to embarrassing emails (notably some racist notes from Sony bigwigs about President Barack Obama’s presumed movie-watching preferences) to the personnel data of employees, including salaries and performance reviews. The Federal Bureau of Investigation now says it has evidence that North Korea was behind the attack, and Sony Pictures pulled its planned release of “The Interview,” a satire targeting that country’s dictator, after the hackers made some ridiculous threats about terrorist violence.