Industry News

Security experts say government regulation is a lousy option – but may still be the best

A survey of over 500 security professionals has revealed, rather disconcertingly, that most believe governments should regulate the way social networks handle our data, and even install encryption backdoors to that end. At the same time, most experts also berate governments for their lax understanding of social media and digital privacy.

Deeply contrasting results were revealed by the survey conducted by Venafi at RSA Conference 2018, with the help of 512 industry professionals willing to answer questions about the current state of affairs in cyber security.

Surveyors wanted to learn how industry experts view the increasingly blurry lines between cyber security, privacy threats and government regulation. So they asked participants: should governments regulate the collection of personal data by social media companies?

Some 70% of respondents said governments should indeed regulate social media companies’ collection of personal data to protect user privacy. Meanwhile, 72% said bureaucrats don’t understand current digital privacy threats. Worse yet, participants couldn’t articulate exactly what governments should do to protect our privacy online.

Kevin Bocek, VP of security strategy and threat intelligence at Venafi, believes the results are “disturbing”

“While security professionals agree that government officials do not understand the nuances of social media and digital privacy,” he said, “they’re still looking to them to regulate the technology that permeates our daily lives.”

45% of the respondents went as far as to say that governments should be able to impose encryption backdoors on private companies – in other words, to allow the government to obtain anyone’s personal data whenever it wants.

Bocek believes this would motivate bad actors to pour all their resources into stealing such backdoors and then sell them to the highest bidders on the underground web.

The survey did reveal some positive numbers as well: 64% of respondents say their personal encryption usage has increased due to recent geopolitical changes, up from 45% in a similar survey conducted last year.

About the author


Filip is an experienced writer with over a decade of practice in the technology realm. He has covered a wide range of topics in such industries as gaming, software, hardware and cyber-security, and has worked in various B2B and B2C marketing roles. Filip currently serves as Information Security Analyst with Bitdefender.