Consumer — 17 March 2014

Special to American News Report

“Every day millions of Americans use mobile applications to help us get through the day. But many consumers do not know their data is being collected. This privacy breach is just not 1’s and 0’s, it’s personal information.”

CELL PHONEGeorgia Congressman Hank Johnson uttered those words after introducing legislation in Congress urging it to increase consumer privacy for mobile devices.

Rep. Johnson is not the only one concerned. Many Americans have grown increasingly worried about their privacy and the security of their mobile devices.

A recent report by the Federal Trade Commission found that 57% of all app users have either uninstalled an app over concerns about having to share their personal information, or declined to install an app in the first place for similar reasons.

To restore some of that trust with users, app developers, advertising networks and mobile operating system providers like Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft need to work together on data collection.

In January 2013, California Attorney General Kamala Harris issued a report calling for “readable privacy policies” and “transparency when it comes to alerting users if third party vendors collect their personal information,” as well as “an end to unnecessary data collection unless it is critical for the app to function.”

In June 2013, the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency awarded a $16 million contract for Mobile Device Management and Mobile Application Store capabilities.

This issue will only intensify with continuing advances in technology.

But right now, it looks like people with mobile devices mostly trust their device operating manufacturer for the security of their data. An Infonetic survey released early in 2014 indicated that mobile device owners are generally slow to realize that the lines between mobile corporate and personal assets are blurring.

Leaders at Capitol College  in Laurel, Maryland are working to make sure that they and their students have the cybersecurity answers that industry, organizations and individuals will demand as we increasingly depend upon our mobile devices as primary sources of information.

“Regardless of our beliefs whether a system is secure, it is our responsibility as Information Assurance professionals to never trust what any company or person says until we evaluate the risks for ourselves,” Capitol faculty member Daniel Ford said.

Students learn the basics of security pretty quickly.

“Our students are already teaching their parents and friends how to operate mobile devices more securely by simply turning on the built in security in most cases,” noted William Butler, who is Chair of the Information Assurance Department at Capitol.

But other things they are learning are much more sophisticated.

A new course called Strategies for Cyber Competition not only helps students prepare for competitions among other like-minded college students, but also provides knowledge that transfers well to real life job situations.

“Capitol College believes that these disciplines are interrelated, so we weave our cyber security expertise into other majors such as computer science, computer engineering, business and software engineering,” added Butler.

This is a positive trend because of the recent news regarding the “insecurity” of some of our own personal data. A recent story about the Target stores credit card breach indicates that it may have all started with a small contractor.

Data  security impacts all of us. The  fact that professors and students are working to try and stay ahead of those who might violate our privacy is reassuring.


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Special to American News Report

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