National Fintech Cyber Security Summit, Sydney on May 3, 2016
A recap of my remarks from the Future scaping panel, which I was honored to share with Lynwen Connick (far left, First Assistant Secretary Cyber Policy and Intelligence, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet) and Dr Carolyn Patteson (middle, Executive Manager, CERT Australia)
Last week I was at the Internet Identity Workshop, interviewing people for a documentary I am making on Internet Identity. Kim Cameron, who does Digital Identity from Microsoft was there. He reminisced about the early days of the internet, and revisited the 12 laws of identity. In reviewing the early days of the internet, Cameron observed the best business models, were fraud. Criminal activity was the best business model with 1000% growth rates. You could say criminal activities and fraud are currently the best business models, despite improved security technology.
We will have new technology & it will still get hacked
Fraud prevention technology will continue to get better. And criminals will also get better at finding ways to exploit new technologies. So we must plan that our best new technologies will be subverted. Some technologies have flaws built into the security method – for example biometrics. Biometrics are promising, but if we follow the above thinking, we must prepare for the inevitable biometric hack. How useful are biometrics if your finger print, iris or face recognition database is hacked and sold on the black market? You can reset a password, but how can you rest your fingerprints or change your face without an expensive trip to the plastic surgeon. It is near impossible to “reset” a biometric.
If you expect this inevitable hacking of your security systems, you will be able to monitor and understand when the new technology stops being powerful.
Technology will blend and extend
We will have a more intimate relationship with our devices - wearing them on - and in - our bodies. This technology may also make decisions on our behalf.
In these kinds of discussion, most of our focus is about the technology – and less about the human. Technology is an extension of humanity, and it needs to work with the human form and within human mental constructs. Kim Cameron says, “People have protocols too.” Relationships, of any kind, are about emotions.
For example, I can set up automatic payments through my bank. Once set up, I forget about them. I can set up alerts before the payment goes out or when it clears. For all purposes it is a piece of dumb technology that works once set up. And I, as the human identity, have authorized it to execute the transactions. I think of this kind of technology as a proto-agent that completes transactions on my behalf.
As we develop smart agents that blend artificial intelligence, data analysis and personal preferences, it’s not so far fetched that I might have an automous financial identity (agent) making transactions on my behalf. That agent might even be connected to a smart object – a solar set up, and authorized to sell energy back into the grid and deposit the sales in an account.
And it won’t be just single objects, there will be combined identities, made up with a combination people and objects.
Identity is at the core
Our understanding of identity is changing - especially as we have agents acting on our behalf and as we surround ourselves with smart objects.
We will begin to use a combination of verified pieces of identity. No one company, government or organization can own 100% of someone’s identity. Identities are contextual with some aspects self asserted and verified, and others based on contextual behavior and reputation.
This as a huge space for opportunity because people are looking to have their financial resources secured. Companies have the resources and initiative to develop systems, products and services that protect people from criminals.
“We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on.” ― Richard P. Feynman
Humans and technology need to work together. Consider a strategy that uses technology to do what technology is best at, while enabling humans do what we are best at. Understand limitations – both the human and technical limitations. Your new systems will get hacked. Technology will become outdated. People will act irrationally. But know you will come up with new technology and new solutions. Our work will never be done – and that’s a good thing for business.