Google, Dropbox and the Open Technology Fund have joined forces to form the Simply Secure non-profit organization. Their website proclaims that, “We’re here to help craft usable secure technologies, and make them available to everyone.” The new group has been set up to help consumers cut through the jargon and confusion surrounding online security, highlighting that a technology such as two-factor authentication are usually avoided and considered as a hassle with no benefit. And whilst perhaps this announcement takes advantage of Apple’s recent high profile iCloud hack, I believe the Simply Secure is correct: more should be done to make information technology security easier to cope with by ordinary people and, of course, more secure. How many of my readers use two-factor authentication?
Simply Secure’s ambition is to help develop security and privacy tools that are powerful and easy to use by ordinary people. They are basing the initiative on four cornerstones: a people-centered Internet requires trustworthy privacy and security; privacy and security should be easy to control; technology should respect the user’s desire for privacy and security; users should not have to pick between secure services and liked services. The non-profit organization will be using public audits of its code and will be making as much of their work transparent, open source and as widely accessible as possible. The hope is that as Simply Secure delves into the projects and better understands how to build collaborations around usable secure software, they will share their developing methodologies and expertise. The hope is that this will build a useful resource for all software developers.
Looking to the future, what can we expect from Simply Secure? Given that both Dropbox and Google are involved, I would expect both of these companies to benefit from additional security on top of their existing cloud platforms that’s also easier to use. We may also see a number of small, stand-alone applications for mobile devices that offer the same improvements to security. It’s too soon to know if this project will help companies produce innovative security applications such as Disconnect Mobile, but I’m sure it’ll raise awareness. You can find out more information about Simply Secure from their website, where you’ll find links to their Twitter handle and newsletter.