New Voices : A brilliant speech by Soline Kauffmann at CyFy2017 on Cybersecurity and Society
As our world grows increasingly digitalized, and the penetration of technology progresses, it is evident that cybersecurity is becoming, if it is not already, one of the main challenges faced by our society. Yet, when we speak about cybersecurity, the scope adopted seems restricted – Soline Kauffmann*
Solin spoke on CyFy about the Big Questions, indeed, around Technology, Security and Society with bringing a New Voice to this debate.
She said she worked for a company called Early Metrics. Early Metrics is a rating agency for start-ups. They use financial, non-financial metrics as well as psychometrics to assess the growth potential of young ventures on behalf of their clients. They have one mission, which is to bring more transparency to the startup ecosystem in order to favour the best types of innovation and facilitate their growth. As part of this mission, they see a good amount of cybersecurity companies, companies which:
Use biometric technology to verify mobile users’ identities through the analysis of their physical behaviour Allow organisations to launch simulations of cyber-attacks against themselves, and immediately provides vulnerabilities & mitigation procedures to close each gap they also rated cybersecurity startups, and part of their 1% of best-rated startups is one called TeskaLabs, a UK Czeck early-stage venture, which has developed a scalable enterprise security solution for mobile and IoT applications that protects businesses from getting hacked.
Through these activities, what they have noticed is an increasing need from their clients for mature technologies. Their clients are business entities, but they also serve government departments, and as our world grows increasingly digitalized, and the penetration of technology progresses, it is evident that cybersecurity is becoming, if it is not already, one of the main challenges faced by the society. Yet, when it comes to cybersecurity, the scope adopted seems restricted. It’s restricted in two ways:
First, in the way we consider a target of cybersecurity. When we think about cybersecurity, we think about GhostNet or Shadow Network, or the operations carried out by FancyBear; we think about one state targeting another, or a group of hackers launching an attack on a specific strategic industrial or political target. But cyber-attackers increasingly see the value of targeting mass consumers’ data. The case of Equifax’s recent hacking last month is the latest example. In the face of anonymous attacks, we the individuals are powerless and as such, States bear the
responsibility to protect us. But technological defence is so far limited compared to the sophistication of these attacks. And if the states are to develop strong enough counter cyber-measures, there is a genuine worry that increased data surveillance– would impede on citizens’ privacy, thus raising some human rights issues.
The second restriction in scope is the lack of understanding of future digital societal practices and the risks therein. As of now, we all possess a digital imprint: our Linkedin, Twitter or Facebook accounts are the extensions of our persona, extensions we fully control and feed with information in a proactive way.
But let us imagine tomorrow’s world as a fully digitalized and connected one. What does it mean exactly? Well, instead of having a simple imprint, let’s imagine we will have an independent digital alter ego, which will be passively fed with big data and powered by an artificial intelligence. Let’s imagine this alter ego could predict what our physical us wants, and get it for us.
Let’s take Rahul as an example. Rahul has been buying a latte at the Costa down his office every day at 8 am. Rahul always pays with his debit card. Seeing this pattern, his digital alter ego, will place his order at 7.57am for him every day and pay. Rahul now gets his coffee fresh on the go every morning, without a wait.
One day, Rahul snoozes his alarm one to many times. His AI digital alters ego, connected to his IoT watch, knows he is late, and therefore places his order at 8.26 am for an 8.30 pick-up. A useful, seamless and innocent use of data. But let’s imagine Rahul, now late, arrives at the office on one fateful day. He is awaited by the police and arrested under criminal charges. They have found his IP on various terrorist websites, and claim they have conversations of him with an anonymous police chatbot regarding a future bomb operation. His payment card also shows expenses for weapons on an online boutique.
So. Is Rahul not the colleague you imagined? Has his digital alter ego been hacked, and patterns and behaviours planted to incriminate him? Or has the AI acted independently, and why?
In such a case, Rahul will have to go to court to be judged guilty or proven innocent. But what about his independent AI-powered alter ego, what responsibility does it bear? If it’s proven it acted independently, will it go to a Digital Criminal Court of Justice? How would the law apply?
Sciences fiction, for all its worth as a literary genre, has been and continues to be predictive in many ways, and we should pay attention. Technology has already led to impressive behavioural changes, and as society becomes increasingly dependent on it, we should consider how a fully digitalized world would work. The scope of our conversation about cybersecurity has to go beyond cyber warfare as we understand it, beyond the sole translation of international rules of law to the digital world. The public affairs community needs to engage much more with researchers, tech entrepreneurs and hackers to look now into the digitalized world of tomorrow and mitigate the upcoming risks. She is not aware of any hackers in the room, but she knows there are government representatives and tech entrepreneurs.
By bringing everyone together, CyFy2017 leads in building a necessary bridge. She mentioned she looks very much forward to the upcoming presentations and panels, as well as engaging with the audience in this conversation.
*Soline Kauffmann is the Global Head of Ecosystem at Early Metrics
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team