Written by: Sophie McGinness – Client Coordinator, Racepoint Global London

At a time when it feels like governments and people are more ever more aware of national borders, it’s no surprise that the conversation seems to have now spread over to the digital realm too. This week, France unveiled a proposed agreement on the use of ‘cyber weapons’ which would impose stricter rules and regulations that would also set up clearer jurisdictions for enforcement. The EU is backing the move but China, Russia and the US aren’t.

The tension between online privacy and online safety has always been there and looks set to be ratcheted up to new levels as the stakes grow bigger. The question governments and organisations face is how do they navigate this landscape?

Hackers are notoriously difficult to identify: from criminals who seek out credit card details to those with more benign intents keen to explore the furthest reaches of the internet. The answer to ensuring access to certain corners of the internet are limited, according to Margot James, UK Minister for Digital, is a digital passport. The minister has said that the British Government are working towards providing every young person with a unique digital ID to ensure that website age restrictions are adhered to.

Some are even suggesting taking this further by actually implanting a physical chip into workers in the accounting and legal sectors. Access to sensitive documents would theoretically be limited to those with the right accesses, kind of like a key card but one that would be very difficult to lose.

While these examples are for specific use cases, they could easily be rolled out further. Where internet access is relatively straightforward and open (barring a few paywalls etc. for restricted and copyrighted content), it’s possible that we could all be issued a digital ID or passport. It could even function similar to a driving licence with a points system for misbehaviour or irresponsibility, as well as a clear paper trail to the offender. A human IP address, if you will.

While this might example might feel a little too ‘Big Brother-esque’ novel’ for many of us, finding the balance between privacy and freedom will shape what the internet becomes in the future. There are important ethical questions to consider: we don’t want to give up our privacy but we do want to expose those we suspect of wrongdoing.

As technology becomes more intertwined with our daily lives, we’re giving greater consideration to how it truly affects us and challenging when it doesn’t meet expectations. How organisations approach these questions will only become more important to the communications strategy of every organisation.

News Round-up

The Telegraph

US, Russia and China refuse to back French cybersecurity initiativeFrench President, Emmanuel Macron, launched the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace on Monday however despite support from 51 countries, the US, China and Russia have refused to endorse the agreement.

The Guardian

Alarm over talks to implant UK employees with microchips

UK firm BioTeq has been criticised for supplying implantable microchips which allow businesses and organisations to monitor employees.

The Times

Digital IDs to guard young against porn

Margot James, the minister for digital and the creative industries, says plans to prevent teenagers from watching pornography through the internet by issuing them with a “digital passport” are under way.


Japan's minister of cybersecurity admits he's never used a computer

Japans new minister in charge of cyber security boldly admits he has never used a computer and appeared confused at the concept of a USB drive