How Safe Is Your Personal Online Data?

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Written By Mostafa Moradi

How safe is your online data after the Talk Talk hacking fiasco and a court ruling outlawing permission for US companies to transfer personal information to The States as invalid?

The truth is that any software code is hackable by someone determined enough and with the right knowledge.

Any security developed by humans can be undone by another.

The truism dates back to the Second World War when Alan Turing and other code breakers shattered the German Enigma system.

The story shows that given time, any expert will eventually crack a security code.

The other issue is who is looking at your personal data?

No privacy for anyone

Files, banking information, phone calls, emails, images and chat room details are stored in the cloud – for safekeeping say the companies running the systems.

However, the European Court of Justice has ruled that an agreement between companies in Europe and those in the US that allows personal information to be shipped back to The States for scrutiny by intelligence services is illegal.

Hacking and this ruling have thrown the technology world into disarray.

As individuals, no one can rely on privacy either because criminals can access their data online or because intelligence services can scan the contents.

It seems that those PIN numbers, access codes and encrypted passwords everyone struggles to remember are useless.

The only real privacy is face-to-face communication.

Anything written or stored digitally is an open book.

Watchdog is powerless

The Information Commissioner, charged with protecting personal data from misuse in the UK, has explained no new threat to privacy has emerged despite the theft of the banking details of 4 million customers from telecoms firm Talk Talk and the court ruling.

“Nothing has happened to change how we should protect our data,” said a spokesman. “No new threat has emerged and online users should not rush to change their data storage arrangements at the moment.”

The statement suggests everyone should accept their breach of privacy and carry on as normal.

A blog from the Information Commissioner tries to explain the court judgement and promises further guidance soon – but worst of all; the watchdog charged with protecting your data ends the blog by admitting they have no power to deal with the problem.