Every year for over a decade HostingCon Global explores the issues and trends that shape the industry. Some of those trends appear one year and are gone the next. Some permeate internet experience for all those who use it. One unfortunate issue which has continued to trouble various industry stakeholders in different ways is the government surveillance which was revealed by the Edward Snowden leaks.
This issue was examined in significant detail by a panel of experts and industry players at HostingCon Global 2014, in a session titled “The Post Snowden World One Year Later: What Has Changed?” The session was packed, as all HostingCon Global sessions are, and featured a lively discussion around the impact of both government surveillance practices, and public awareness of them, on businesses, individuals, and even concepts like privacy. The place of the internet infrastructure industry in the social and political dialogue about the issue was argued, as well as the possible ways forward.
The panel was made up of a group of highly knowledgeable stakeholders with a deep level of concern for this ongoing issue. The panel members were:
Christian Dawson – ServInt
Ron Yokubaitis – Data Foundry
Michael Petricone – Consumer Electronics Association
Gregory Nojeim – Center for Democracy and Technology
Marvin Ammori – New America Foundation
Amie Stepanovich – Access
Michelle Richardson – ACLU
As HostingCon Global 2015 approaches, the issue has not gone away. On the contrary, some of the concerns raised in the panel discussion have only increased. Snowden himself urged hosts to take a “zero knowledge” approach to their service shortly after the discussion took place. A study released in November indicated the level of mistrust and uncertainty amongst consumers online. The US government has taken a number of steps to promote cybersecurity, but all in the face of persisting or even worsening industry fears about liability, transparency, and just what the NSA has had their hands on. It remains to be seen if the Snowden revelations will really drive people from Skype to Kim Dotcom’s encrypted video calling service, or if end to end email encryption on the German model will take hold. We do know that surveillance and encryption, disclosure and transparency, the NSA and Edward Snowden will all be part of the conversation at HostingCon Global 2015; even a year after one year later, as the issue becomes a trend.
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