Are privacy and security stifling innovation?

Privacy and security needs to be handled very carefully to make sure that innovation isn’t stifled.

Too much concern for security and privacy could hold back the potential of the internet and destroy innovation.

So claims Dr. Peter Freeman, Emeritus Dean and Professor at the Georgia Institution in the US, who made his comments while speaking at ENISA's annual security conference in Heraklion, Greece.

The professor, who was previously the director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), said that innovation is based on information, communication and tools that help the innovator explore and find out new things. However, he warned that an overreaction to security needs could restrict these.

"Dealing with privacy and trust in a networked world must begin with having the technical means of providing security," he said.

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Freeman said that the internet's complexity and broad reach meant it was essential for policy makers to have the technical knowledge to make decisions on security and privacy.

"You would not ask someone to design an aircraft without having a huge base of scientific and experimental knowledge," he added.

"You wouldn't decide policies on the operation of hospitals without extensive empirical information and medical knowledge."

Freeman also had something to say about chief information and security officers that businesses employ, suggesting many were given the responsibility for protection but didn't have authority to make employees do things differently.

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