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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tolerance For Digital Ephemera

Bruce Schneier, the noted digital security expert writes that today we chat in e-mail, over SMS and IM, and on social networking websites like Facebook, MySpace, and LiveJournal. We blog and we Twitter.
Noting that ephemeral conversations are becoming a taboo in government circles at the highest levels, he points out that conversation is not the same thing as correspondence.Today's mobile converged device is more likely to run software considerably more advanced and versatile than desktop systems just 10 years ago. That versatility is an enemy of security is granted,given that it turns the underlying security architecture on its head. No doubt, it’s also a myth that communications are encrypted from end to end.

Lets look beyond this. As Bruce notes, technology makes our conversations less ephemeral, we need laws to step in and safeguard ephemeral conversation. We need a comprehensive data privacy law, protecting our data and communications regardless of where it is stored or how it is processed.

Commenting on the ban on Blackberry usage for the US president elect ,he highlights that with the Internet the younger generation chats digitally, and the older generation treats those chats as written correspondence. Until our CEOs blog, our Congressmen Twitter, and our world leaders send each other LOLcats – until we have a Presidential election where both candidates have a complete history on social networking sites from before they were teenagers– we aren't fully an information age society.

Intense efforts by mobile operators to increase their data subscribers in order to drive higher average revenues per user (ARPU), resulting in higher handset subsidies compared to traditional handsets.

The widespread usage and penetration is further aided by the fact that
• Lower component costs have enabled availability of more affordable smartphone devices
• The frenzied consumer appetite for mobile applications such as traditional Internet
access, wireless email, GPS applications, and gaming.

Within the next three – four years, analysts estimate that we are likely to see around 40% smartphone penetration in North America and in Western Europe. With all these happenings, I can’t agree more with Bruce Schneier’s view that the people in the younger side of the internet generation gap need not be necessarily operating under the rules written by the older side and lets try and make sure that it does not take another generation before society's tolerance for digital ephemera changes.

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