Respect and security

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Respect and security

Trying times for security

Can't take me anywhere, I start finding security messages at the most inappropriate places.

I was at a sociology talk the other night about the effect of the Internet on the course of romantic relationships and one bit struck me as an applicable way outside the bounds of even platonic one-on-one interactions: "Ours will need to become a society of forgiveness."

When all our actions online are indelibly etched there, there will inevitably be mistakes or missteps. Everyone from your neighbours and coworkers and friends up to politicians and religious leaders will say or do things sub-optimally before we all quit this digital stage.

More and more, this is not necessarily the end of a career or a friendship. 

Companies are no more immune to this than any of the rest of the world, and they are no less responsible for correcting their errors in order to earn back the trust of their customers.

We all know what a difficult balancing act it is for businesses to provide both security and accessibility. Lately, Sony has been mired in another sort of balancing act: How much do you allow people to do as they please with a purchased product, when doing so can cost your company money?

Sony's troubles began when hackers breached Sony's network in solidarity with George Hotz, whom Sony was suing for his hack of the PlayStation 3 and subsequent posting of 'How To' instructions online. While this original breach has been fixed, hackers continue to go after one hole after another in their network, apparently in order to continue tarnishing Sony's reputation.

What will decide whether or not this is something which will break the company is not what has already come to pass.

What is important now is their actions going forward. Will they learn lessons about how to store customer data? What will they do to improve their security? How quickly will they notify customers of any future compromises?

Plenty of companies have had security holes in their products or their networks, and yet people still give them their business based on the strength of their response. Sometimes this change will take years, but it will come if trust is earned back.

This article originally appeared at

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