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Silent Circle CEO Urges People To Take Control Of Their Privacy

January 28, 2015 - Written By Justin Diaz

Data privacy. It’s not something that should be taken lightly. If anything, we’re not taking stringent enough measures to ensure that everything is protected. On any given day we might overlook more privacy issues than we realize, and it begins with apps and the permissions that they request, in return for giving you access to downloading and installing their app onto your phone so you may use their service. How many times do you actually pay attention to the permissions that apps are requesting? If you answered not often, you aren’t checking the permissions enough, you should be checking them every time. Silent Circle, the company behind the Blackphone wants to bring this to people’s attention in honor of International Data Privacy Day(yes, it is a thing)and have released a short video called ‘Spoken Permissions’ which tasks you, the user, with taking back your privacy.

In the short two minute thought provoking piece, Silent Circle alerts people to the types of permissions that apps are asking people to allow for use of the application. They range from altering call logs to turning off airplane mode without confirmation, and people are surprised at what the apps are asking for. Most of them admit to never really thinking about data privacy and they think we’re “mostly safe” when it comes to security on handsets. For most people this seemed to be an eye opener. In addition to the video spot, CEO of Silent Circle, Phil Zimmerman, wrote a letter to global CEO’s urging them to start really thinking about data privacy and stop thinking of security issues. Silent Circle further notes that if we start to focus more on the aspect of privacy rather than security, we might be better equipped to protect the data we want to keep private.

He draws attention to the recent Sony hacks where loads of personal data and information was leaked out to the world stating that “…when I see what happened to Sony recently — the data stored on their servers leaked to the world — my mind goes to that difference between privacy and security.  I’m sure Sony had firewalls and VPNs, intrusion detection and antivirus, policies and procedures — all the usual artifacts of corporate information security.  Those things securely delivered a mountain of information to Sony’s servers, where it was lost all at once.” He makes a strong point about the distinction between security and the privacy of corporations, and the privacy of people in and around the corporation and that both individuals and corporations alike need to start thinking more about how to protect their privacy. With alarming figures relating to security like, 65% of IT decision makers believing that end-user negligence is the major risk to mobile security,  it puts into perspective that privacy of users rather than security of the company should be the core focal point on how to protect the data you don’t want leaked.

For corporations, trust-based attacks can cost up to $398 million per incident, which can potentially still be felt over the next two years with a projected $35 million in losses. Privacy shouldn’t be taken lightly, and although some people pay pretty close attention to it, most probably don’t give it a second thought. I’m all for productivity, it helps streamline things and it makes it easy to maneuver through the workday at an efficient pace, but it shouldn’t be at the risk of personal privacy. I’m not saying that people and their privacy are immediately at risk, but merely that users should start to pay more attention to what kinds of information they’re opening up to the outside world. Watch the video below, and check out the full set of information at Privacy project webpage in the source link. You can also read the full letter from Phil Zimmerman on the Blackphone and Silent Circle websites, as well as find out all kinds of other useful information relating to smartphone privacy and the privacy project.