Complex issues and problems in society leave us begging for simple solutions. Take privacy and security. They are related but different. How about making a few laws that would enable more privacy and provide more security?
First, anyone convicted of a security breach would suffer the penalty of beheading. In public. On live TV. Oh, and add a $1-million bounty for anyone who turns in a hacker who ends up beheaded.
Too much, too soon?
Perhaps, but I suspect that security breaches would drop in number almost overnight, and then drop even more after the first few beheadings. Hackers would think twice about hacking if they knew their friends or family members would turn them in for an enormous profit.
I know. Wishful thinking, right?
Second, all data collections should be opt in. What does that mean?
The property of having to choose explicitly to join or permit something; a decision having the default option being exclusion or avoidance; used particularly with regard to mailing lists and advertising.
I know what you’re thinking. We have opt in everywhere already. True, but not to the extent it should be. Facebook is opt in. Google is opt in. Amazon is opt in. We know to some extent we have to trade private information for the right to browse a free social media website, or to search Google for information, or to rummage through Amazon to find bargains to buy.
That’s the nature of how things work, right? Yes. But that’s wrong.
Most of us have no idea how much private information Facebook, Google, Amazon, and other online stalkers gather about us. So, let’s just pass a law that says opt in for data collection is not mandatory, but optional– right up front in big fonts and without any penalty whatsoever.
We get the same of everything if we opt out as if we opt in.
Why does that make sense?
Trust me. Facebook, Google, Amazon, et al, would not like that but they could prosper as they do now because enough people would opt in to their services. Advertising would still be sold. Amazon would still sell products online. What would change is simple. We get to determine whether or not to allow those online behemoths to track us or not.
how about an addendum to that? Whatever information has been collected to date needs to be discarded in six months. Whatever data is collected must be discarded in six months. Surely enough people would opt in that their online business models would not change much. After all, how much data about us do they need to prosper?
Privacy and security are complex issues and problems but solutions are not so complex. Except for implementation.