Online security expert warns of data honeypots

Earlier this year we appeared before the national security inquiry to tell the committee what a bad idea the government’s data retention proposal is. One of the issues we raised in our submission was that the regime would create honeypots for hackers and identity thieves. A number of other individuals and organisations agree with us on this point.

We’ve written previously about the Australian government’s data security problem. And it’s not just an issue in this country – just this week, it has been revealed that the UK’s National Health Service has been responsible for the loss or sale of more than 1.8 million medical records in just one year. That’s around 5000 documents every day!

Online security professionals, like Jarrod Loidl, know just how big a problem the proposed data retention regime would create:

My concern is that if we cannot protect the assets we have today—our credit cards from being stolen, our home computers from being infected, and our personal data from being stolen or leaked—then what chance do we have of protecting the metadata repositories of our combined web, email, SMS and telephone history?

My deep fear is that these repositories will become targets of the same groups our intelligence and law enforcement agencies desire to prevent with such information.

Mr Loidl’s open letter to Attorney-General Nicola Roxon highlights the serious threat that the government’s proposal poses to the security of our online information. Ms Roxon should heed his concerning message:

Based on my experience, if this proposal goes ahead, I have no doubt systems will be compromised. It is simply a case of when. If there is one thing I have learned in this field, it is that nothing is ever truly safe.

This is just further evidence that the committee must reject the government’s data retention proposal.


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