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Photo: Unfold Stories / Mary Cruse

In Brief: News From PrivSec, London

Bringing you highlights from identity events around the world

Between 4-5 February 2020, the #GoodID team travelled to London to attend PrivSec: a meeting of privacy and security professionals from around the globe.

In the shadow of Westminster Cathedral, we took part in discussions, heard from experts, and met with representatives from across the privacy and security landscape.

If you were unable to make it or just want a refresher, we’ve put together a quickfire summary of our highlights from the event.


Cybercrime

A key point on the agenda at PrivSec this year was the growing threat of cybercrime. Mike Hulett, Head of Operations at the National Crime Agency (NCA) spoke about the work that agencies like the NCA are doing to mitigate and respond to criminal activity online.

Observing that cybercrime is one of the most significant future threats we face, Hulett highlighted the importance of cross-border, international collaboration, explaining that the NCA works alongside the FBI, Interpol, Europol, and the CIA to tackle the global threat posed by cyber-criminals.

However, Hulett also noted that cybersecurity is never just about the technology, it’s also about how we use it. He championed the importance of education, diligence, and risk awareness, noting that cyberskills are vitally important, and have myriad beneficial applications, including bug-hunting and ethical hacking.


Deepfakes

Following on from the discussion around cybercrime, Olu Odeniyi - Digital Transformation and Cybersecurity Consultant - spoke on the growing threat posed by deepfake technology.

Odeniyi explained that deepfake software is becoming increasingly democratized, and that individuals are now able to simply download the necessary programs online. And, as a result, we’re seeing deepfakes crop up more and more, often in nefarious ways. By way of example, Odeniyi highlighted a case in which a journalist became the target of a deepfake attack that sought to discredit her by editing her face into a sexually explicit video.

This led to an interesting discussion about the dissolution of truth, and the ways in which the prevalence of deepfakes could fundamentally erode our sense of trust, thus undermining democracy itself.


Facial Recognition

Another event highlight came from Data Protection Expert, Rowenna Fielding, who spoke passionately on the importance of a measured and thoughtful approach to facial recognition software.

Fielding made an astute comparison between the growth of facial recognition technology and the spread of radium technologies in the early 20th century. Following its discovery by the Curies in 1898, retailers rushed to introduce radium to consumer products, like watches and medicine, with deadly consequences.

Fielding called for decision-makers to learn from this historical precedent, and to remain wary of the potential dangers of facial recognition software when considering implementation.


Hungry for more? Check out the PrivSec website.

And if you know of an unmissable identity event, activity, or story taking place in 2020, get in touch with the Good ID team.