05 March 2016

Zeros and Ones: Context & Proportionality Don't Translate...

"Context and Proportionality do not translate to Zeros and Ones."  This was a key take away from the 2016 RSA Conference last week in San Francisco.  Thousands of Operational Risk Management (ORM) professionals attended to listen to speakers with titles such as Attorney General, Secretary of Defense and Chief Technology Officer.

Perhaps more important however, were the actual practitioners in the legal system and those "Quiet Professionals" responsible for our national security, who were clearly outlining the digital landscape and our significant challenges ahead.  For our nation and the future of our social and economic destiny.

The software engineers and companies who are writing millions of lines of software code are at risk.  Here is why.  Context and Proportionality do not translate to Zeros and Ones because lawyers are writing words with "Semantically Intentionally Ambiguous Meaning" (SIAM), in the pursuit of achieving digital trust.  Privacy and security intent in the translation from lawyers to software engineers, has been lost for a long time.

How can we summarize the entirety of what just took place this past week at RSA:
  • Visibility
  • Threat Protection
  • Compliance
  • Data Security
These four pillars are where the industry is still categorized in the majority, yet we came across some very interesting companies and products that are creating a new buzz.  Walking the halls and observing the presentations, the mobile computing generation was in full force.  As everyone shuffled between sessions like the overcrowded high school hallways, the only safe location was on an escalator where you could stare at your iPhone for 20 seconds with a little peace.  Can you imagine the amount of intellectual property intelligence being collected by competitors and adversaries using digital sensors and good old fashioned trade craft during the week?

So what?  In the spirit of all the talk and debate, the sales and marketing, the presentations and powerpoint slides, what have we learned?

"Context and Proportionality do not translate to Zeros and Ones."

Why is this so important to grasp?

At a certain point in the accelerating evolution of technology innovation there are disruptive bifurcations.  It means that the rise of a particular system achieves a point in time when instead of rising and growing on the "S" curve, the system begins its descent and erosion, until it is outdated or no longer trusted as a standard.

We are soon to reach a new bifurcation in the digital systems that run our businesses, markets and governments.  The organizations who rely on the Internet in their daily operations need to adapt.  Quickly.  Those that are able to accomplish rapid reengineering will survive.  And those who wait or miss the signals to adapt, will perish or become absorbed by the digital environment surrounding them.

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