Natalya Kasperskaya: Digital profiles make me scared

InfoWatch CEO and co-founder of Kaspersky Lab Natalya Kasperskaya believes Russian citizens’ digital profiles will require serious protection. The use of the personal profile data should perhaps be regulated by the law on handling national security information, she said.

Credit: Kirill Kallinikov | RIAN

The bill on integrated digital profiles is being reworked by the State Duma, the Russian parliament’s lower house, after the current version received negative feedback from the Federal Security Service.

“I insist that people’s digital data needs to be classified as official national security information,” Natalya Kasperskaya told Invest Foresight on the sidelines of the Global Technology Leadership Forum in Sochi.

If digital profiles are officially introduced, it must be done in such a way as to protect their owners as much as possible. Otherwise, many cinematic plots would materialize in real life. Even in a digital world, people should remain entitled to an identity and privacy, and this can only be done in a regulatory way. It is legal regulation that should guard their personal privacy and confidentiality, the InfoWatch CEO said.

The concept of having integrated digital profiles definitely has potential, including for business, so many are lobbying for it. However, people must understand the risks, she added. Along with the national security information laws, other methods can be used to protect them against unauthorized use of their digital data. Any professionals who have access to digital profiles can be required to sign non-disclosure agreements stipulating serious liability for violating them.

“If someone’s digital data is compromised, it is essential that the perpetrators can be tracked and seriously punished. Unfortunately, this is not the case now. Sberbank leaked 5K clients’ data into the web – they even said 60 mio at first – and nothing happened. And that was only financial data,” Kasperskaya said.

At present, people’s digital data is accessible to more employees than those actually using it – for example, system administrators, she explained.

She also said the very idea of having an integrated digital profile makes her feel scared.

“This certainly sounds scary. It’s like everyone knows things about you. A digital profile contains all your personal data, including movements, fingerprints, bank accounts, preferences, contacts, in other words, all your deep dark secrets. And it gets uploaded and stored somewhere,” Natalya Kasperskaya said.

Even a technology such as blockchain is unlikely to securely protect digital profiles, she believes. Perhaps it could ensure the immutability of your data and help avoid malicious replacement of your profile components, but the actual details would become even better accessible and open. In addition, moving the integrated digital profile system to the blockchain would require very large computing capacity and an expensive infrastructure.

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