Too many companies view security and encryption as an afterthought. A candid streamed conversation at South by Southwest (SXSW) with Edward Snowden focused on convincing companies to lock down services and secure the data they collect. The former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor participated remotely from Russia where he lives in temporary asylum.
Snowden called on companies to use end-to-end encryption for their services rather than relying on encrypting and decrypting content as it runs across the Internet, which makes the content more vulnerable and easier to intercept.
One reason why Google and other Internet companies don't offer truly end-to-end encryption is because it interferes with their business model. It does not allow advertisers to read the content and insert an ad.
Snowden also urged companies relying on the collection of consumer data to only hold it for as long as required to complete the transition and run the business.
He fears that the NSA's mass surveillance program continues to weaken the nation's security and makes it easy for others to attack the U.S. infrastructure because it pokes holes and creates vulnerabilities.
If you could design from scratch an accountability system for government agencies what would you do? asked Tim Berners-Lee, father of the World Wide Web. He posed the question through an email to moderator Ben Wizner, director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Speech, Privacy & Technology Project and Edward Snowden's legal advisor.
Snowden said all
three branches of the government were asleep at the helm, and that the executive branch had little oversight. He said the country needs a committee of public advocates to protect the structure.
Some believe Internet companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Yahoo would not have made the changes to their infrastructure at the rate they did if not for Snowden.
The American Civil Liberties Union will make available the replay of the conversation between Snowden and Christopher Soghoian, the principal technologist at the ACLU on the organization's Web site.