Privacy and Security
in the 21st Century
WHO KNOWS AND WHO CONTROLS?
PROCEEDINGS OF A FORUM
Prepared by Steve Olson
NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street NW Washington, DC 20001
NOTICE: The subject of this publication is the forum titled Privacy and Security in the 21st Century – Who Knows and Who Controls? held during the 2018 annual meeting of the National Academy of Engineering.
Opinions, findings, and conclusions expressed in this publication are those of the forum participants and not necessarily the views of the National Academy of Engineering.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-49752-7
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-49752-3
Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/25575
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Copyright 2019 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America
Suggested citation: National Academy of Engineering. 2019. Privacy and Security in the 21st Century: Who Knows and Who Controls?: Proceedings of a Forum. Washington: National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25575.
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The theme of the 2018 annual meeting of the National Academy of Engineering was “privacy and security in the 21st century: who knows and who controls?” It was one of the more popular subjects we have examined in recent years. Everyone relies on computers to do their jobs, interact with others, and engage with modern society. Engineers, whose professional practices created computational technologies like finite element methods, are entirely dependent on them.
On the first day of the meeting, two distinguished plenary speakers shared their perspectives and insights on the topic. Diane Greene, chief executive officer of Google Cloud, who was inducted as a member of the Academy earlier in the day, talked about securing information as the computer industry transitions to the cloud. Mike Walker, principal researcher at Microsoft Research NExT, described the privacy and security issues raised by distributed computing devices, including those constituting the Internet of Things. Both speakers acknowledged the likely prospect of continued threats from malicious actors, but they also observed ongoing substantial progress against such threats in recent years and expected in the future. In short, it is not time to relax.
On the second day of the meeting, Mike Walker and three other computer security experts—Batya Friedman, professor in the Information School at the University of Washington; Aanchal Gupta, director of security at Facebook; and Lea Kissner, global lead of privacy technologies at Google—participated in the meeting’s annual forum. As in previous years, the forum was adroitly moderated by Ali Velshi, anchor and business correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC.
Information technologies are at the forefront of accelerating change in society. What is new today is the breadth of technological change, the
rate and global reach of these changes, and the scales of their impact. New technologies and capabilities throughout engineering are changing the world, and these changes are coming whether we like them or not. As the familiar technologies we are accustomed to using disappear, we are left wondering, “What’s next?”
As individuals and as members of organizations, each of us grapples with change and hopes that we are making sound adaptations to it. Knowing what to anticipate is a critical underpinning for such decisions, which is another reason the theme of this year’s annual meeting was so popular. The expert presentations at this meeting gave us all a great deal to think about on a continuing basis.
C. D. Mote, Jr.
National Academy of Engineering