Vox pop: Do you trust your telco with your data?

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This article appeared in the March 2017 issue of CRN magazine.

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Vox pop: Do you trust your telco with your data?

Tony Vizza, cyber security practice director, Sententia

Given that data is going to flow through the telco’s pipes, a telco’s customers really don’t have a choice whether or not to trust them with their data, except to switch providers if they feel the telco isn’t protecting their data. 

Ensuring the existence of a strong regulatory framework that governs how telcos handle that data will build trust and confidence. In addition, any breaches of privacy should be swiftly investigated by the regulatory authorities, and adequate penalties should be placed on telcos should customer data be compromised. I feel that importance should be placed on these measures. 

The long-overdue passing of mandatory breach notification laws will strengthen these measures by providing further impetus for telcos to prove that a customer’s data is safe. If a telco’s information security measures are inadequate, customers should vote with their wallets.

Aaron Bailey, security director, The Missing Link

I do trust my telco with my data. We have data everywhere these days: we carry smartphones in our pockets, which are data collecting machines. Everyone should be careful with what data we give away. 

If I use an app that asks for me to enable location services, I will only do so if there is an obvious benefit. Telcos store data about our calls, texts and locations, but they don’t typically use it. 

Everyone has a responsibility for their own data, and we can’t trust other people to take responsibility for us. It’s important that we keep security at the forefront of our minds, like using different passwords, not allowing third-party apps access to everything and being conscious that data can be intercepted. 

Data can be lawfully intercepted by the authorities in the case of a crime being committed - therefore we have a responsibility not to open ourselves up to those situations.

Damian Kay, managing director and chief executive, Inabox Group

I have a subjective view as managing director and chief executive officer of a telco. Telcos have been dealing with data and infrastructure such as servers, networking and storage for a long time, so they are experienced in securing data. 

Telcos need to be accredited to standards such as PCI for payment cards. Security is an arms race - just look at the breaches experienced by banks and other institutions online - 
so it’s not easy for any business. However, the reality is that we live in a digital age where we do everything online, including sharing details on social media.

Personally, I am not concerned. I would be happy to have a chip in my arm that holds all of my personal details so as to make life easier.

That said, I do support privacy and security regulations, and we ourselves have made significant investments in order protect people’s privacy. 

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