On Sep 11, 2014 CloudWatch hosted a concertation event at the EC premises in Brussels to collect feedback from experts on the upcoming work programme 2016-2017 (H2020 LEIT ICT WP2016 -2017).
Traditionally, during this day members from various EC-related projects break into committees to discuss pressing subjects in software & services and cloud computing that should be considered in the work programme. The day is completed by joint review and a series of panels.
My presentation focused on the upcoming construction app challenge organized by MobiCloud: how it opens opportunities for startups and SMEs to validate new product ideas with experts from larger companies and increase chances of success.
Mssrs. Baškovč and Hendrickx addressed the panel subject from a different angle: they have shared and reviewed the results of a survey wherein a number of startups and SMEs commented on how they use the cloud and how it supports their innovation programmes. An unexpected debate emerged on actual definitions and compositions of a typical SME in Europe, and what needs it might have on security and privacy.
The reaction of the audience was predictable -- many experts firmly believe that software vendors should be further controlled by the government to make sure that breaches are rare and propely punished, and that the burden of enforcing privacy should not be on users.
I challenged this opinion by running a small impromptu poll with the audience. I asked two sets of questions:
- How many people are using GMail actively? And how many of them enabled two-step authentication and went to check if their account was compromised during the most recent leak of account passwords?
- How many people are using Facebook Messenger on the phone? And how many did review the end user agreement which grants this app unlimited access to camera and microphone?
Consequently, if the awareness of the privacy risks does not rise among not-expert users, it will become more and more difficult to prevent scandals like the recent celebrity photo hijacking. More importantly, simplifying the effort needed to ensure good level cloud privacy and safety for end users is a field abound with good business opportunities.