A Post-Privacy Age?

Philip Zimmermann

Philip Zimmermann

One of the reasons I like going to the Hack in the Box conference is that I meet some phenomenally interesting people there.

This year was no exception with the conference being staged in Amsterdam’s old Bourse.

Some people doubtless see issues surrounding digital security as existing in something of a bubble, a bubble that perhaps pops when bank details or personal information gets taken from a corporate server.

However as the Snowden revelations demonstrated very clearly so much of our lives are now lived online that there is no clear divide between digital and physical security. Moreover while nation states and private organisations don’t have the capacity to break into a million homes or steam open the letters of a million people they’ve managed too automate snooping to an alarming degree so they can sift through emails, texts and calls and build up a picture of who we are, who our friends are and what our beliefs might be.

In defence of this outright mass violation of privacy we’re often presented with the notion that it’s for our own safety. Safety has been the stock explanation of many a totalitarian regime. It’s increasingly being deployed by democratic states as well.

But what can people do?

For a start they can se better encryption. Few people have a better perspective on the subject than Philip Zimmerman. Philip was responsible for PGP – Pretty Good Privacy launched in the early 90s and is now focused on voice privacy with his company Silent Circle.

I recorded two interviews with him while covering HitB for the BBC’s Click! programme. It didn’t fit into the pieces I’d been commissioned to do however he’s way too interesting a guy for these to go to waste.

Make of them what you will.

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