A debate over data retention is taking place in Australia now. The government wants more control over what data it can collect and store from its citizens, and the people want more evidence that their information is being handled carefully and that it is being used for legitimate purposes. The CIA’s chief information security officer, David Greer has laid out some suggestions for governmentslooking to offer their citizens peace of mind on these matters.
Data Shelf Life
One of the major points Greer raised is that citizens want to know that their information, once used, is being deleted. As of now, they have no way of knowing how long the government is keeping their information or for how long they have been collecting it. Gathering personal information over a long period of time givesanyone the ability to make a very intimate picture of a person’s private life. But if that information is able to be deleted ina way that citizens can bemade aware of, it could give them some peace of mind about spying technique.
One way to do this may be to use a time sensitive key. Once the time is up, that key deletes the information automatically. A copy of the key can be given to citizens so they will know when their information is no longer being held.
Another concern being raised is how safe using the Internet or any software program really is. Many of them come with or develop flaws, and these can be used by unscrupulous individuals to take advantage of people and steal their information. These are programs that are on people’s computer, and they contain many loopholes that can be used by hackers to access private information.
People want to know that they can trust the information they are accessing and the programs they are using. They would not hire a bathroom renovator if they knew he might take pictures of their home and rifle through their belongings. People want their bathroom renovations to be done by someone they can trust. Similarly, they want to know that the programs they are using are safe as well.
One suggestion being made by Greer isthat the government should buy up any bugs that are found on public programs. Then the government can fix these themselves ormake the manufacturers aware of the faults. This allows the public to do a lot of the field testing for themselves. And it deters them from keeping and exploiting bugs for themselves.
While the information the government gleans from the public is often used to solve crimes, it can be appropriated by other parties with some work. If the public feels safer about how that information is being handled, they are more likely to give it up willingly.…Read more