Privacy and Security

The right of privacy for every citizen of the United States must be highly respected by the government. We are in the age where both government and individuals have abilities to violate privacy in ways that can destroy lives. In that regard, our world has morphed into a very complex cat and mouse scenario.

In certain circumstances, government surveillance may protect citizens from foreign or domestic hackers or terrorist attacks and may prevent crimes against individuals and save lives. In other circumstances, the wrong employee or group of employees working for the NSA or a telecom company could do great harm to individuals or even our nation if, for example, they ever became the arm of a renegade politician. Mass collection of telecom and Internet hub data by the NSA could become very, very dangerous for individual privacy, yet, it could lead to protecting our nation from terrorist attacks or prosecuting child sex crimes or human trafficking. At the same time, it certainly is not comforting to any citizen that corporations and our government, due to basically prostituting our cell phone data, credit card info, facial recognition technology to third and fourth parties, know more about ourselves than we could ever remember. This is frightening for every citizen and adds to some potential paranoia that is not too far off base.

What is even more alarming and troubling is the fact that in the wrong hands, this type of information and the increasing ability to “fake” information, could become a weaponizing tool for a foreign government or a rogue group of individuals to exploit Americans or groups of Americans, or the entire government of the United States for that matter. We know this is already happening on certain levels, but the prognosis for the future seems to be getting worse, not better. That is very troubling!

The Internet of Things adds to this complication. Most sensors and RFID’s and the systems behind them in homes or on items people carry are not properly secured. The rush to market has created the environment where the potential for a “perfect storm” is increasing. This is literally a heyday nirvana for foreign and domestic hackers. Under many circumstances, security is the afterthought and is not well planned out, so the wild west of technological innovations is holding sway over the most basic corporate and governmental common sense to wait for security to catch up. I know from first hand because I’ve been on Internet of Things projects for companies, and security is not part of the initial plan. If it is, then usually it is simply a distant afterthought. People are more excited at this moment with connecting things, not securing them. Money is always the first consideration, and security concerns and hold ups block monetary profits in corporations.

Based upon this, we have some very, very serious problems to solve in regard to privacy and security. Being a software engineer and into technology for just shy of 30 years now, I have a passion to find the balance in all this and to solve these issues in the best way I can. If a candidacy is declared in the future and moves forward, I assure you that I will speak more on this topic. We MUST solve this for America and all our allies around the world. If elected, I will make every effort to have us become one of the most secure nations in the world while not losing our technological edge. It is a very big mistake that we are getting hacked by state sponsored foreign nations constantly, and we are basically plugging holes in a life raft that is riddled with bullets. In many ways, our strength has become our weakness. There is so much at stake, and, in addition, it is of little doubt that some foreign chip makers embed eavesdropping hardware or firmware into some of the devices at the physical layer as well.

We MUST do better in this area. It is vital for our survival as a nation. We cannot afford to have our citizens at risk. There is far too much at stake to fail on this front! This is a border that must be secured! THIS is where we need the wall: a virtual wall with strong port of entries and border security!

In addition, if the laws and prevention of side-step maneuvers are not already in place, I want to make certain that even the President of the United States, judge, or member of congress, can’t get access to an individual’s private Internet, Cell phone, or any other communication without a serious check and balance system, even if he or she has “friends” in the NSA etc.. And those who are part of the NSA, CIA, FBI or any other entity that could theoretically gain access to an individual’s data, cannot simply look them up without a court order and/or further security steps. We MUST protect private citizens from government control, and we must do it in such a way that our private citizens regain confidence in our government agencies… that our government is out to get the bad guys, and cannot simply get to any information they want on a whim! I will do my best to setup or enhance such a system. That is Campaign Promise because personal privacy and encroachment on that privacy is a BIG deal to me!

But there is a balance in this. We must be able to respond to real national security threats quickly. If elected, I will seek to find that very careful balance between the two and setup a system for the future of our nation so another could not come into power later and abuse it. I will work with any willing members of Congress to change any necessary legislation to protect privacy, but maximize ability to prevent harm to our citizens as a whole.

One soap box issue: nothing to do with this book

Okay… This is a complete side issue and has nothing to do with anything else in this book… this is simple advice to anyone who uses a smartphone or goes online. Right now, the safest way to keep your accounts secure are two things: good passwords, and two-factor authentication. If you have any accounts that are important to you, I urge you to make sure your passwords are not basic words and numbers, and that you always treat every computer or mobile device as though it is public even if it isn’t.. therefore, enable two-factor authentication and don’t ever turn it off. If you don’t know what it is, it is worth learning about. It isn’t perfect, but it multiplies the security of your accounts.

The Obvious

There are many things, security wise, I MUST get to the bottom of if elected President. I will mention just one right here as an example only: I really need to know why Americans call customer service for banks, credit cards, and other companies who are storing very personal information (PII), and they are allowed to transfer calls overseas without informing citizens it is occurring. Then citizens of other foreign nations are allowed to ask American citizens for their social security number and/or other pieces of personal, secure information before getting complete access to the US Citizen’s bank account or credit card personal information. I just don’t understand that!

Here is the deal for me: That “feels” like a breach of trust between corporations and their customers, and, more than that, it also feels like a breach of trust between the US Government and its citizens the government is supposed to protect because the government isn’t stopping this from occurring. It almost feels like the middle class American citizen is literally thrown to the wolves when it comes to personal security.

Once an American is hacked and compromised, their life can be ruined for the next several months or years. Why is this happening? Is this worth it? Should we be allowing potential breaches of security so banks can save a dollar and their top executives can ride on golden parachutes while the rest of middle-class America suffers? I don’t think so! We know it is about money. That is obvious. Farming out work to foreign countries saves a ton of money. The fact that banks and some companies have no moral or ethical care or concern for America or American citizens is bewildering, and the idea this attack is primarily on middle and lower income America is even more appalling.

Wealthy Americans never have to deal with this. They have private investment bankers they talk to, a very personalized service. When one of my previous businesses began to prosper, it was unbelievable how the big mainstream banks came out of the woodwork to tell me about their “special” concierge type service for bigger customers. They live on the “higher” floors of the high rises the banks own. I was shocked this existed.

This type of service cannot possibly be provided for everyone. I get that. However, to send the legal definition of PII across the wire and overseas, that seems riddled with security breaches and it feels like the government is allowing its own citizens to be violated! We have no guarantee the foreign government isn’t eavesdropping. We know state sponsored hacking has, as one of their prongs, the direct targeting of individual American citizens and their money. This would be a VERY lucrative market for a foreign government to slurp up personal data of American citizens and sell it to third parties, some of which could be state sponsored hackers. Once information leaves our soil, it is open and fair game, and to think there aren’t pirates or rogues seeking to get at it is completely naïve at best. This needs to end if it hasn’t already or the US Government has a responsibility to show US Citizens exactly why their information is secure going overseas.

The US Government and any US corporations should make a very sincere effort to show the phone exchange is safe. But I’ve never seen it. Legislation was attempted in Congress in 2009 requiring certain disclosures by companies relating to call center locations, but it never passed. I wonder why. It seems protecting an American citizen’s privacy should be a no-brainer. Why would Congress punt on that? We need to know, and if a candidacy is declared in the future and I’m elected, I will find out and push for the most secure systems possible for people residing within the borders of the United States. This is the pre-release edition. In the full release of this book, I intend to go into more detail about security as it relates to many, many things. There are so many issues, and I intend to help lay a foundation by solving as many as I can in four years if I am elected, and I also intend to provide a clear super highway for the next President and Congress as well. Stay tuned.