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December 5, 2018

Preventing digital blind spots

By Ian Houvet, Managing Director, Boxfusion

The recent revelations exposed by an alleged hack of the private life of a public official have once again raised questions around cyber security in government. It seems as though the hacking of prominent companies (i.e. several large airlines and social media platforms) is on the increase. While private individuals are constantly at risk, the question of privacy is even more pertinent for celebrities and government officials who are more exposed than ever.

Globally, most individuals are fully-immersed in using digital platforms and technologies daily, with smartphones having pride of place in our lives. As we become more integrated with tech, and Internet of Things (IoT) increases, more of our sensitive data will become imbedded in hackable digital frameworks.

It is part of the social contract we make with internet providers when we use their services to access the reams of information that we consume, and use the technologies that simplify and streamline our lives. For example, using Chrome alone allows Google to deliver your personal information to millions of advertisers as you browse daily.

The more we use technology, the more we may find technological blind spots emerging, and this is a risk that government cannot afford (as we’ve seen in recent weeks). Of course, a functioning democracy is based on checks-and-balances, and the voting public must have open access to essential information so that they can hold their elected officials to account. But the implementation of cyber security for government processes and bureaucrats does not detract from this.

In many cases the voting public is kept safer when sensitive government information is protected from hackers. It ensures risk management while protecting the information of voters and safeguarding the functioning of government within set frameworks.

It is important here to highlight that government privacy of sensitive information does not detract from holding government accountable. In fact, automating processes within the public sphere serves to minimise corruption by removing the hazards of paper-based processes (which includes anything from losing important documents to fraud). Automating government allows for an auditable digital trail so that officials can be more transparent than ever.

That said, while we are in the process of digitising the public sphere, it is also essential that we protect that information from falling into the hands of hackers, who would use it for evil ends. While some manufacturers build security measures and encryption into their devices, it is also essential that government software is protected against any possible privacy breaches.

At Boxfusion, we pride ourselves on the fact that our customisable software solutions ensure the privacy of our users. Cybersecurity is an essential part of our offering for government, because we understand that they too need to be able to securely work while on-the-go, without fear of a data breach. While hackers become smarter, it is up to us software developers to ensure that our solutions remain impervious to attacks in order not just to protect our end-users, but ultimately our citizens as well.

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