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RSA Survey: Should Governments Regulate Social Media Data Collection?

RSA Survey: Should Governments Regulate Social Media Data Collection?

government encryption backdoors
April 25, 2018 | Emil Hanscom

From the fallout of Cambridge Anaytica to Russia’s attacks on Telegram, the connection between digital privacy and cyber security was a popular topic during this year’s RSA Conference in San Francisico.

It’s clear that social media companies and the US Federal government have much to learn about our current threat landscape; but do security professionals trust both public and private companies to make informed, educated decisions to address these risks?


Seventy percent of companies are tracking less than half of potential machine identities. Read more.

Last week, Venafi conducted a survey at RSA Conference 2018 to learn how industry professionals are responding to the growing intersection of cyber security, privacy threats and government regulation. Over 500 attendees responded to the survey and the results were rather shocking.

Social Media Regulation Chart.PNG

According to the survey, 70% of respondents say governments should regulate the collection of personal data by social media companies to protect user privacy. However, exactly what governments should do remains a bit unclear. 72% believe their government officials do not have a good understanding of the threats impacting digital privacy.

Digital Privacy Chart.PNG

“These results are disturbing,” said Kevin Bocek, vice president of security strategy and threat intelligence at Venafi. “While security professionals agree that government officials do not understand the nuances of social media and digital privacy, they’re still looking to them to regulate the technology that permeates our daily lives.”

Encryption Backdoor Chart.PNG

The survey also revealed a disturbing new wrinkle in the war on encryption. Nearly half (45%) of the respondents believe governments should be able to impose encryption backdoors on private companies. But, 74% admit their government officials do not have a good understanding of the current cyber threat landscape

Threat Landscape Chart.PNG

Bocek concluded: "It’s disheartening that so many security professionals think encryption backdoors will somehow make us safer. There is no question that they will undermine our global economy and make digital communication much more vulnerable. Any backdoor will be extremely lucrative, so cyber criminals will spend an enormous amount of effort to steal one. And once a backdoor is leaked it’s certain to be available to the highest bidders on the dark web.”

Do you find our survey surprising and do you agree with the results?

Learn more about machine identity management. Explore now.


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About the author

Emil Hanscom
Emil Hanscom

Emil is the Public Relations Manager at Venafi. Passionate about educating the global marketplace about infosec and machine-identity issues, they have consistently grown Venafi's global news coverage year over year.

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