The Jeep in question
Personally, I think it’s too easy when something like this happens to moan and mourn the days when you, and you alone, had control of your car, or who saw your saucy honeymoon snaps. Yes, it was a simpler world to live in. These days, giant technology companies power the cars we travel in, and can dictate how we store our naughty photos. And between us and these companies, there are occasionally some even naughtier hackers.
But rather than harking back to the old days, it is the technology companies, hackers and our woeful police we need to focus our attention on. Though sometimes tempting, we must not turn our backs on the advances that new technology will bring. Automation, to varying degrees, has offered salvation to billions – from those of us profoundly grateful for the domestic dishwasher all the way through to the patients of doctors performing “telesurgery” – remotely operating on patients miles away.
The deal of this modern age must be that if we consumers put our faith into the hands of companies using cutting edge technology, these businesses need to meet us half way with assurances of total security. Internet start-ups, as brilliant as they are, must grow up. Innovation doesn’t excuse poor corporate governance or relieve a business from its duty of care to its users.
Jennifer Lawrence was one of the celebrities whose images were leaked in the iCloud hack
For instance, while I love how Google continues to push the boundaries with driverless cars and its forays into artificial intelligence, I don’t much like it when it randomly collects people’s information without their prior consent. Nor do I feel assured about putting my family photos into Apple’s iCloud soon after intimate images of Hollywood A-listers have been hacked (and no before you ask, they aren’t those kind of snaps) – even though I’m an iPhone and Mac fan.
What about our own, state-run, security services? While companies must up their game – so must our largely tech illiterate police. Two years ago, along with several other female journalists, I received a bomb threat on Twitter. While I ignored it and went to the pub, one of the other women reported it to the police. The officer in question’s response? “What’s Twitter?”
Emma’s bomb threat on Twitter two years ago
Hackers, moral or not, will hack. They will hack our cars, our emails and in years to come, no doubt, our thermostats, fridges, pacemakers, even airliners – anything and everything that will be connected to the so-called “internet of things”.
Technology didn’t invent the societal ills that underpin crime; in fact it has hugely alleviated them. So instead of whining about the new technological avenues that miscreants can explore, it’s time for companies and police to up their game. Fast.