The FBI’s Head of IT Security Isn’t a Fan of Public Wi-Fi

November 18, 2015, 8:13 PM UTC
Credit: Phillip Van Nostrand/Structure

Cloud providers need to become more transparent about their security practices, according to Arlette Hart, the Chief Information Security Officer, at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. As the U.S. government moves more of its data and computing to the cloud, it has to be prepared to accept the risks of handing over its data to a third-party provider, but the government is not ready to do so until it understands how that data is secured at a very granular level.

That was the message Hart had for the audience at the Structure cloud computing conference in San Francisco on Wednesday. She also shared her thoughts on the blockchain, which is the underlying technology behind the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. She finds it, “interesting, with a lot of promise.”

Most of her conversation was about risk, as it relates to security. Everything from whether she uses public WiFi (not if she can avoid it) to posts her holiday photos on Facebook (she doesn’t recommend it) are a question of risk. And in her perspective, mostly the risks aren’t worth the rewards. This extends to how she views the debate between privacy and security currently raging in the wake of the bombings in Paris.

Calling technology a “two-edged sword” she gave the example of her camera which can be used to take pictures people having fun at a birthday party to that same camera being used to take photos of naked children for pornography. Going further, she brought up Europe’s right to be forgotten laws insinuating that the people who most want to be forgotten are the people who have the most to hide.

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