LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman (photo by JD Lasica)
Reid Hoffman on pervasive data and how it will impact business in the future
In addition to being the founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman is a Silicon Valley insider with rich insight into technology trends, markets and building companies.
I attended his presentation at SxSW, where his main message was that the future was bearing down on us, and he prophesied that it would “arrive sooner and be stranger than we think.”
He painted the context for his theme, “Web 3.0 as data,” with this timeline:
Web 1.0 was a low bandwidth environment in which individuals searched for files online (and on demand). The concept of “cyberspace” was separate from the “real” world. It was an anonymous world in which many people participated as animes.
Web 2.0 was a shift in which people increasingly participated with their real identities (MySpace notwithstanding), and the online world became increasingly integrated with the offline world. Social networks mapped social graphs (again, with real people), and most people blogged as themselves. Online became firmly embedded in offline life, as a way to help manage and navigate by using reviews and other buying tools. Wikileaks and the current revolutions in the Middle East are part of this larger trend.
Web 3.0 is mostly to do with the massive amounts of active and passive data we are generating. An example of passive data is phone calls from mobile devices. Bandwidth is increasing, which enables video, audio and graphic sharing and data. Hoffman advocates thinking hard about it and acting to protect data. Think about what kind of future we want to create.
Web 3.0’s data introduces significant risks to privacy because every transaction, passive and active, is linked to our real identities. Mobile device transactions are constantly tracked, and this is relevant because they are tied to real identities.
Hoffman’s biggest fear is how governments could use information to control people. Governments are organizations that are closest to what he called “pure power” (because they integrate information, legal authority and military/police power). They can mine email, text and all other digital data to learn anyone’s social graph.
Unlike corporations, government is not incented to care for citizens; he implied it is less accountable. Continue reading →
With evolution comes change. With change come new ideas and new rules. At the second annual Social Media Law Conference in Seattle this month, a handful of thought leaders gathered to share and learn about the impact of social media and emerging technologies on the law.
John Palfrey, Jr., co-author of Born Digital and professor at Harvard Law School, opened the conversation by citing six major legal problems dominating the legal conversation around social media and technology:
security and safety
credibility of information
computing in the cloud
Law practitioners need to learn and understand the complex legal issues in a socially mediated world. What is the rule of law when it comes to emerging media?
A question of identity
When your offline and online identities collide, is there such a thing as a separation? When the wall between your offline and online personality is fast becoming non-existent, accountability in the social space and the physical space is a must. As your digital dossier exponentially grows over time, individuals should be more concerned about how information is gathered and stored. Should we expect that privacy concerns can be handled through less regulation? Dave Horn, Assistant Regional Director at the Federal Trade Commission in Seattle, says, “No, we will definitely see more regulation.” Continue reading →
One of the issues Hay talked about at B-Sides was that security bloggers were becoming the voice of the security industry, and as a result, they had a responsibility to the industry. Hay said that security blogging first responsibility is to be educating everyone else and helping others understand the challenges of security. Part of that involves engaging others on how to solve security problems collaboratively.
Given that bloggers are not beholden to an editor or a publisher, the security blogging community self-polices each other and happily jump down each other’s back when they make mistakes. Sure they’re in security, but they’re only human, so they do make mistakes.
Lastly, I asked Hay what’s the best way to communicate with a security blogger if they say something for which you don’t agree. He gave the most common, and I believe correct response, and that’s to not air your argument out publicly online. Pick up the phone and have a conversation. Find out what the core of the dispute is. Hay’s seen a lot of anger quelled by a simple phone call.
I‘m at the 2010 RSA Conference here in San Francisco this week reporting for Tripwire.
Before the expo floor opened, I sneaked in (yes, seriously, at the security conference), and got a preview of Sophos’ presentation on protecting yourself from social networking malware. After his preparatory run through, I asked “media tart” (his words, not mine) Graham Cluley (@gcluley) if I could interview him on how to protect yourself and your company from malware over social networks. He provided some good tips. Some of them I’m sure you’ve heard before, but do you actually adhere to them all? Here’s a summary of his recommendations:
Get an anti-virus program that scans every link you click on.
Just because someone who says they’re you’re friend, they’re not necessarily.
To protect yourself from what’s behind a short URL, add a plugin to your browser that gives you a preview of what the long URL is. As a Firefox user, Cluley recommends Long URL Please.
Use different passwords for different sites. Cluley says 33% of people use the same password for every single site. I personally use Roboform2Go for password memorization.
Don’t use a dictionary word as your password. Pick something difficult that combines letters and numbers.
The scammers are always out to get you. Make sure you’re aware of the threats by reading security blogs. He highly suggested you fan the official security page on Facebook.