This week Leila decided to leave me, a 19 year old, soon to be university student, and a summer intern at HATDeX, to write the MadHATTERS op-ed. Then she said that if we get sued because of what I wrote, she’ll top up my university allowance as bonus for the extra publicity.
I’m writing to get us sued.
Kidding. The truth is far more boring. I’m just going write about what I learnt.
I went to look around on the news and found yet again a headline with the words “data breach”. This time I was on the New York Times. The headline said “Capital One Data Breach Affects 100 Million; Woman Charged as Hacker”.
I thought to myself: Is there no way to fix this mess? In one of the slack channels, I asked: “tech people… would it be possible to build the complete back end of a bank on the HAT?” (In my world, HAT solves everything of course ;))
It started out as a general discussion and I found that both centralised and decentralised systems have different purposes. For example, you can’t easily analyse big data buying patterns (if you buy a red scarf you’ll also buy blue heels) with a decentralised system. If decentralised systems start to do the job of centralised systems it will just be inefficient. Now, with centralised systems, we may not be able to know if the person wore the scarf at the same time as the heels, or when the person wore it. You probably can, but if you extend that to everything that a person is doing, that’s pretty intrusive. That’s where decentralised, user owned and controlled systems become useful. So I learnt that both systems can be complementary, but there are overlaps and the architecture of the overlaps will depend on the industry and use cases.
Then came the question of security, the interesting part for me. I suggested this to the team: why not put the user in charge of security? To which Irene said that individuals should never be in charge of their own IT security if they can barely remember to lock their doors and close their windows. It’s crazy how we even have systems that automatically lock our cars if we forget to lock them. Am I losing faith in humanity? Definitely.
So companies are too focused on the money to deal with security, and they make mistakes. If they mess up big time, and run out of money to pay for the damage, we’re in trouble. And, the individual is too lazy.
So what’s next? Are we going to ask the government? If we’re going to ask them to oversee banking security too, they’re going to take even more tax money. In addition, we don’t trust them, because we don’t want big brother watching us either.
So what is happening now? It looks like the market is making the decisions. We don’t trust Capital one anymore, so we switch banks, next thing we know, Capital one goes bust (if the gov doesn’t bail them out), and we all switch to a better, more secure bank. In a way, the market punishes the bad players, and so should the government (instead of bailing them out). Then what about all the people with money in a bank that’s going bust? Maybe the government should bail them out.
I don’t know anymore, how about we all just get a HAT, and some more drinks so we can talk more data politics!