PRISM & Data Breach Response

The emergence of PRISM has caused a stir in the United States.

What is PRISM?

It is a collaboration between the National Security Agency (NSA), the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the biggest tech companies in the country.  The agreement has provided the U.S. Government access to data including audio communication, videos, photos, emails, documents, call logs and text messages since 2007.

Headquarters of the NSA at Fort Meade, Marylan...

Headquarters of the NSA at Fort Meade, Maryland. 

How has PRISM come to light?

On Wednesday June 5th, a classified order was shared and made public.  The order to Verizon Wireless by the Foreign Surveillance Court directed the company to turn over domestic & foreign call data from the past and in the future.  Such data would be gathered by the millions and would provide sender and receiver of calls, duration, time and location.

PRISM came about through leaked PowerPoint slides that described the collaboration between the government and the tech giants.  When questioned, companies such as Google, Facebook, Apple, AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft gave the same canned response, “we do not provide the government with direct access to our servers.”

James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence made statements suggesting that the collaboration existed and that the government was operating within the legal system.  Here’s what Clapper wrote about PRISM.

The whistle-blower

, 29 year old, Edward Snowden was a member of defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.  Snowden claims that a “massive surveillance machine” is in the making and that he leaked the information to  “inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.” Snowden is currently in Hong Kong, China while various US diplomats are calling for the country to extradite him.

As if internet security and privacy were not already a hot topic, it can be an effective transition into offering Data Breach Response Coverage.

The Breach Response product is tailored to healthcare, retail, hospitality and higher education operations.  The product is geared to moderate the results of a breach of data.  These mitigation tools will help minimize brand damage and legal liability by offering the following coverage.

Data Breach Response Features

For claim examples for Data Breach Response, click here.

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Identity Crisis – Google & Motorola Working on Tattoos as Passwords

Ladies and Gentlemen, is it time to panic?

The days of online password simplicity is officially over.  No longer can your dog’s name and street address protect against a hack into your seemingly endless array of online accounts.  When companies such as Google & Facebook offer cash rewards and jobs to hackers, it makes the once crime into a sport.  As a game fisherman would spend 3 days on a charter boat to land the big Marlin, hackers confine themselves to similar quarters to “land the big one”.  Difference being, hackers get paid more.

Yes, these big companies hire the hackers to build better defenses again future intruders.  After all, the more you know about your enemy the more you can prepare against them.

But has this gone too far?Tattoo Authentication

TATTOOS THAT REPLACE PASSWORDS!?

A PILL THAT GIVES YOU A WIRELESS SIGNAL FROM YOUR STOMACH!?

Chances are that within the past year you have had a conversation containing these words, “And then the Government will start putting computer chips in our brain at birth.”  Congratulations, you are the new Nostradamus, except, it’s not the government doing this… yet.

In May of 2012, Google acquired Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion.  This purchase affirmed that Google would be extending their portfolio of offerings far past software and into gadgets. Analysts projected the acquisition would not stray Google from their most successful and profitable focus, advertising, but rather use Motorola for Android growth and innovation.

The tattoo prototypes contain electric circuits that are stamped on to a user’s skin.  The circuits are tailored specifically to an individual user, much like a digital social security number.  Your mobile device would only be unlocked and authenticated when you were within a particular distance from these circuits.

The other product is the Proteus Digital Health pill.  The pill that is already approved by the US Food and Drug Administration is a computer chip that operated on acid in the user’s stomach.  The pill acts as a tracking device and signal creator that can be used to identify an individual.  Similar to the tattoo, once the pill is ingested and activated, your mobile device can confirm your identity and allow you access.

The pill is much more farfetched than the tattoo for unlocking devices, but once could certainly justify this becoming a requirement to get past TSA in the (hopefully very distant) future.

The days of simplicity have passed us.  As consumers, our privacy and identities have never been more vulnerable.  Technology has optimized the world we live in far past what one could ever imagine and it is a great thing, until you depend on it.

Read the article from The Telegraph here.

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The End of Distracted Driving?

Campaign From Massachusetts State Police

Campaign From Massachusetts State Police

Insurance companies, law enforcement, employers and parents across the United States have been brainstorming a variety of ways to cut down on the biggest risk on the road; distracted driving.  This exposure can take many shapes and forms, from a woman applying mascara in her rearview, a man taking the form of Neil Peart when “Tom Sawyer” plays, to someone consuming an extra value meal that requires two hands to hold.  These however do not distract drivers nearly as much as the main target; mobile device use.

Although car manufactures have reduced the risk with the integration of Bluetooth Technology, the exposure and danger is still prevalent due to the lack of supporting vehicles and inaccuracy of commands.  So far, 11 states have banned the use of hand-held devices while driving including Connecticut, New Jersey, Nevada and Arkansas.  This law encourages the use of Bluetooth or headphone sets.

The Federal Government is serious about the issue and has granted $550,000 to Connecticut and Massachusetts for landmark research on how to spot and charge prosecutors.  The program grants each state $275,000 for methods of spotting such as looking at motorists on overpasses.

Yes, the government is showing initiative to save lives, but this method is outdated, moronic and will have minimal impact.  That $550,000 would have been much better used to develop a mobile application such as DriveID.  This state of the art mobile application is downloaded and disables the device when a driver tries to access the phone.  The software is so advanced that it unlocks itself and can be used when handed to the passenger.

It is only a matter of time before Insurance Companies catch on and begin to give discounts for drivers who download and utilize the application.  I can see this fitting in very well with the Progressive Insurance SnapShot device.  If the companies and government incentivized the use of this software, we would have safer roads, better use for law enforcement and $550,000 back in the taxpayer’s pockets.

Keep your eye on DriveID and Wall Street in the next few years.

Check out DriveID on Insurance Journal.               http://bit.ly/13Ge7cp