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RSMC Panel: No Easy Answers in the Balance between Privacy, Mobility, and Cloud

If experts on the Intersection of Privacy, Mobile, and Cloud panel at Rock Stars of Mobile Cloud Tuesday agreed on anything, it was that there are no easy answers in balancing privacy, mobile, and cloud. There was also widespread disagreement among audience members on whether data belongs to consumers and whether consumers have exclusive ownership of that data.

Led by Joshua Greenbaum, Principal of Enterprise Applications Consulting, panelists engaged in a wide-ranging discussion on social norms, information sharing, and how information can be adequately safeguarded.

Frank Ingari, President and CEO of NaviNet defined privacy as a right and security as a method.

One problem is that many Internet of Things applications and tools are being developed by startups and others not used to dealing with security. “Right now they seem fairly innocuous, but five years from now, they may not be innocuous,” said George Reese, Executive Director and Senior Distinguished Engineer at Dell Software.

Maintaining privacy in the era of the mobile cloud is particularly difficult for the healthcare industry. In healthcare, supposedly individuals own their data, but in many cases patients can’t speak to protect their data.

Carlo Cadet, VP Customer Solutions at Perfecto Mobile, pointed out that “healthcare is not in the business of security, it’s in the business of delivery.”

For example, nurses at shift change want to share the conditions of patients. They include that information in the cloud. “At their heart, they’re trying to deliver the best care possible and they want to make sure the next shift is aware of patient conditions,” said Cadet.

But that could pose security risks for paient information.

What the auditors and people who come up with these frameworks forget, said Reese, is that in the battle between security and convenience, convenience always wins.

Cadet said social norms are competing with custodial responsibility. “Social norms are moving faster than the capabilities that custodians possess,” he said. “It’s like chasing a moving target.”

“The world is getting smaller,” he added. In the past, only our families were aware of our secrets. “But now, every thought I choose to share through Tweeting is in the public domain.”

Ingari said that’s contrary to copyright law, where ownership is maintained even when a product is shared.

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