March 2013

Cyber-Security and ICT4D: Notes from the Info Security Tech Salon

Cross-posted at the Tech Salon site: http://technologysalon.org/2013/04/why-information-security-matters.html

First off, please thank the Internets for creating this site, which can serve as a guide on when you should use the prexif cyber: http://willusingtheprefixcybermakemelooklikeanidiot.com

The tech salon on security and privacy was a predictably raucous debate on finding a sane balance between using 30-character passwords with symbols, numbers, and mixed-case letters that must be changed every month for your timesheet systems ... and taking basic security measures to protect super-private data. How and where do we build in information security in ICT4D? When is it unwarranted, and when is it irresponsible to not address it?

There are the obvious cases, ones with a clear adversary -- be it a repressive government or a group working aggressively against your goals. When you have this clarity, there is an awareness of the need for information and communication security, and

The problem is when there is no clear adversary - when no one actively hates your work. In ICT4D, we normally see this as a good thing, but it means that building in security becomes one more extra, annoying and costly piece of your overhead costs, defending against an unspecified threat - and it often gets dropped.