A wake up call for BYOD

OilComm/FleetComm presentation from RML Business Consulting warns of ‘surveillance capitalism’ and the considerable dangers of a ‘bring your own device’ policy. Terms and conditions of mobile device hardware and services (including cloud computing) merit scrutiny.

Speaking at the 2018 OilComm FleetComm conference in Houston last year, Rex Lee, from RML Business Consulting provided a wake up call to all whose employers operate a ‘bring your own device’ policy. Lee categorizes the current practice of providing free mobile services as ‘monetizing the user’, aka ‘surveillance capitalism’. Lee asked if attendees believed that they could secure their smartphone or tablet PC with preinstalled or third party apps, or if they would ‘knowingly allow 15 or more multinational companies to monitor, track and data mine your home and office phone activity including content?’ This is pretty much what all smart devices do all the time. ‘Connected products are intentionally designed to enable content developers monitor, track and data mine the user for financial gain at the expense of the product user’s civil liberties, privacy, cyber security and safety’.

In other words, the Android and Apple operating systems are definitely not private, secure or safe forms of telecommunications and computing! Android devices and iPhones allow multiple third parties to collect and use personal information. The surveillance capitalists use multiple ways of harvesting personal digital DNA, with obscure legalese in their terms of use that may violate consumer laws. Moreover, hundreds of apps widgets and other content may be preinstalled on a device and the collective terms of use can exceed 3,000 pages of ‘misleading and contradicting’ legalese.

The GAFA’s are engaged on a new gold rush for your digital DNA which is being leaked to your service providers and their business partners including companies from China. Lee warns, no product is private, secure or safe. Stay away! Corporations need to verify terms of use of all devices and services (including cloud storage) to demand transparency from service providers. Vendor communications regarding official business should not be done on consumer grade technology. But most important of all, do not allow ‘bring your own device’ and terminate any such program forthwith. Next talk with your telecom provider and discuss privacy and cyber security issues associated with connected technology. Demand transparency, ask questions, file complaints, and litigate if necessary! At a personal level, individuals need to prod their elected and government officials to take action!

Lee, who manages the www.MySmartPrivacy.com portal, speaks from 35 years of wireless industry and application development experience and as a contributor to the 2017 Department of Homeland Security study on mobile device security.

Postscript: Right on cue we now have the WhatsApp breach!

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