#eWEEKchat April 11: Personal Information: Is Anything Secure?

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is testifying this week before Congress; the time is right for a chat about personal information security online. Please join us April 11 for an #eWEEKchat about a direct influence on our lives.


On Wednesday, April 11, at 11 a.m. PDT/2 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. GMT, @eWEEKNews will host its 66th monthly #eWEEKChat. The topic will be "The Rise of Automation in All Technology." It will be moderated by Chris Preimesberger, eWEEK's editor of features and analysis.

Some quick facts:

Topic:  "Personal Information: Is Anything Secure?"

Date/time: April 11, 11 a.m. PDT/2 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. GMT

Tweetchat handle: Use #eWEEKChat to follow/participate, but it's easier and more efficient to use a real-time chat link.

Real-time link to the conversation: Use http://www.tchat.io/rooms/eweekchat. Sign in via Twitter and use #eweekchat for the identifier.

"Personal Information: Is Anything Secure?"

Facebook, its connection with Cambridge Analytica and how it affected the 2016 U.S. presidential election are front and center this week as the company and its co-founder/CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, explain themselves before Congress in an inquiry that continues to make headlines.

Certainly, this isn't the only example of insecure data storage that's of concern right about now. How about every time we slide or insert a credit card in a point-of-sale device? Or each time we use our credit card number and other personal information to make an online purchase?

What about interacting with a chatbot on our phones  or tablets, then finding out later we were spoofed? There is really no end to the security concerns we all have here in the internet age; let's discuss them on Wednesday.

Cogent Thoughts

We all have to be more responsible about how we allow services--whether online or not online--to access our personal information. When we get hacked, at least part of the time, it's our own fault.

The following is from an astute friend, David Dubbs, founder and CEO of MyDigitalHealth Network, who knows firsthand about personal health records. His comments are relevant at this moment in time.

"As CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook face Congress this week on the issue of data privacy, there's a reality check that needs to be understood. If you ever subscribed to a magazine (e.g. Time, Vanity Fair, Business Week, etc.), your data was sold," Dubbs said.

"With a simple name, address and zip code, it's easy enough to search public records, discover the names of your spouse and kids; cross reference LinkedIn (I now know your friends, colleagues, where you went to school, what you do for a living, etc.); search Trulia for how much you paid for your house and your property taxes; and if you're a senior exec in a public company, your salary and stock sales.

"In fact, anyone can compile a pretty comprehensive profile on you -- far more detailed than a click stream on Facebook.

"Did Facebook screw up with allowing third-party software to access your profile? You bet. Were they slow in acknowledging their problem and issuing a mea culpa? Absolutely. Is Facebook unique in selling its data to third parties? Sorry, but no. If you ever received a Val Pak coupon mailer; catalogs from stores you never shopped; an invitation to join AARP, offers for credit card companies, etc., that's because your data was sold.

"Zuck is going to take a lot of heat this week, and Congress will threaten regulation and some Facebook users will delete their accounts. But the fact is there is always risk in self-publishing personal information on the cloud. Users need to understand the risks; set privacy settings accordingly; and self-monitor how 'personal' you share on social media. Sadly, Facebook is being singled out when the Equifax data breach was a far more serious problem," Dubbs said.

Here's Where You Come In ...

What's your take on all this, personified in the Facebook-before-Congress scenario this week? Can Facebook be faulted for what one of its customers does with personal information voluntarily given to the customer?

Here are some discussion points from recent eWEEK articles that we will discuss on April 11:

--Are you thinking about pulling the plug on Facebook and other online services? Why or why not?

--How can you prove you are really YOU when logging into a personal account? (See eWEEK article here.)

--What type of enterprise security (data-centric, network-centric, application-centric, workload centric, device-centric) do you believe shows the most promise at this point?

--Is two-factor authentication a possible answer?

Let’s bring these topics and more into the conversation on Wednesday. Join us April 11 at 11 a.m. Pacific/2 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. GMT for an hour. Chances are good that you'll learn something valuable.

For your reference, here is a list of scheduled #eWEEKchat topics for 2018. They are subject to change, but not less than 30 days beforehand:

#eWEEKchat 2018 Schedule

Jan. 10:  The IoT Greenfield: Where Will It Take Us in 2018?
Feb. 14:  Application Economy or API Economy: Which Will Prevail?
March 14: The Rise of Automation in All Technology
April 11:  PI Everywhere: Can We Continue to Allow Numerous Organizations to Own Our Personal Information?
May 9:  New Roles for VR and AR in Enterprise IT
June 13: TBA
July 11:  New Trends of All Kinds in Security
Aug. 8: What's New in Low- and No-Code Application Development
Sept. 12: Voice-Enabled Everything
Oct. 10: Trends in New-Gen Mobile Apps, Devices
Nov. 14:  Straightening Out Enterprise Collaboration Strategies
Dec. 12: Predictions and Wild Guesses for IT in 2019

If you have a suggestion for an #eWEEKchat topic, email [email protected].

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...