As lawyers and lobbyists pester the Congress with an array of potential policy boogeymen for the tech industry, the American people are waking up to data privacy issues and what it means to them and their wallet. This has absolutely nothing to do with Edward Snowden or the NSA. A majority of Americans could care less about that pet project of the Left.
A clever programmer figured out a way to exploit a weakness in an application designed to store and secure your personal data stored on a computer. It sounds akin to placing your healthcare records or credit card information in a safe without really locking it. Someone with computer know-how can siphon, keep, and use the personal information as they wish.
If even half of the Heartbleed data bug stories are true, this town will soon see many an angry Congressman asking tough questions of industries offering online services such as retailers, banks, and healthcare services:
PC World: … Four researchers working separately have demonstrated a server’s private encryption key can be obtained using the Heartbleed bug, an attack thought possible but unconfirmed …
CNN Money: … for two years now, someone could have been able to tap your phone calls and voicemails at work, all your emails and entire sessions at your computer or iPhone. You also could have been compromised if you logged into work from home remotely. And you’ll probably never know if you were hacked.
Bloomberg Business Week: … scenario illustrates the hidden costs faced by individuals and businesses as they seek to fix one of the biggest security threats in Internet history.
Of course, affected industries have no visible strategy to deal with the public backlash expect maybe old reliable, blame the NSA or any other federal government agency. Yet this time it will likely not be enough. Either the NSA is involved or is not involved in securing the data superhighway. You really can’t have it both ways.
The best solutions come from the free marketplace of ideas, but this time, the free market failed. It is tough to tell right now how Congress will react to all of this. The last thing the world needs is meddlesome and cumbersome federal regulations; however, if the private sector fails to deal with these issues, that’s exactly what is going to happen.