Kaspersky Labs CEO calls for the end of internet anonymity

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by c2d, Oct 17, 2009.

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  1. c2d

    c2d Registered Member

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    The CEO of Russia's No. 1 anti-virus package has said that the internet's biggest security vulnerability is anonymity, calling for mandatory internet passports that would work much like driver licenses do in the offline world.

    The comments by Eugene Kaspersky, who is also the founder of Kaspersky Lab, came during an interview this week with Vivian Yeo of ZDNet Asia. In it, he proposed the formation of an internet police body that would require users everywhere to be uniquely identified.


    "Everyone should and must have an identification, or internet passport," he was quoted as saying. "The internet was designed not for public use, but for American scientists and the US military. Then it was introduced to the public and it was wrong...to introduce it in the same way."

    Kaspersky, whose comments are raising the eyebrows of some civil liberties advocates, went on to say such a system shouldn't be voluntary.

    "I'd like to change the design of the internet by introducing regulation - internet passports, internet police and international agreement - about following internet standards," he continued. "And if some countries don't agree with or don't pay attention to the agreement, just cut them off."

    He rejected the notion that internet protocol numbers were sufficient for tracking a user, arguing they are too easy to come by.

    "You're not sure who exactly has the connection," he explained. "Even if the IP address is traced to an internet cafe, they will not know who the customer or person is behind the attacks. Think about cars - you have plates on cars, but you also have driver licenses."

    Kaspersky was traveling on Friday and not available to be interviewed for this article. A company spokeswoman declined to comment.

    Kaspersky admitted such a system would be hard to put in place because of the cost and difficulty of reaching international agreements. But remarkably, his interview transcript spends no time contemplating the inevitable downsides that would come in a world where internet anonymity is a thing of the past.

    In Kaspersky's world, services such as Psiphon and The Onion Router (Tor) - which are legitimately used by Chinese dissidents and Google users alike to shield personally identifiable information - would no longer be legal. Or at least they'd have to be redesigned from the ground up to give police the ability to surveil them. That's not the kind of world many law-abiding citizens would feel comfortable inhabiting.


    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/10/16/kaspersky_rebukes_net_anonymity/
     
  2. Fly

    Fly Registered Member

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    Eugene Kaspersky's position on this is not new. (I didn't read the entire article in theregister)

    There have been discussions in the past whether he was involved with the KGB or not. I don't know the answer to that question.

    Government regulations, those worked so well in the Soviet Union, didn't they ? o_O

    It's a chilling proposition. Just one step further is chipping everyone and implanting a GPS locator in every adult.

    I suppose as a matter of principle I shouldn't buy Kaspersky's software.

    You can't have freedom without privacy and anonymity.

    And it's not as if IDs can't be faked. And then there is the matter of ID theft.
    Government regulation as the cure of all ills ? :rolleyes:

    What about the third world, China, India, Brazil and the rest, where there is a lot of corruption ? People bribe officials, dissidents can't get an ID, and most people are too poor to pay for an ID. If such a plan were implemented the IDs and the process of issuing IDs should meet high standards. Have one poor and corrupt country issue substandard IDs and criminals all over the world will get their IDs there. And should we really lock out the two-thirds of the world population unable to afford the IDs from the internet ?

    Aside from practical issues, I think it's morally wrong. We already have systemic tv camera surveillance, spying by intelligence agencies (Echelon), data retention, router taps and private companies, financial institutions, health organizations and government institutions creating huge databases and more. I don't think we should make it worse than it already is.

    It seems I couldn't repress the urge to step on the soapbox.
     
  3. ThunderZ

    ThunderZ Registered Member

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    :thumb: :thumb:

    Dead on Fly.

    Have never used KAV. Now, as my little form of protest, I never will.....nor will I recommend it to anyone.
     
  4. pidbo

    pidbo Registered Member

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    On hearing this I will never use or recommend any Kaspersky product again.
     
  5. funkydude

    funkydude Registered Member

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    Yeah, remove one of the most appealing things about the internet, that's the way to get yourself on the hate list quick. :rolleyes:
     
  6. LockBox

    LockBox Registered Member

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    Absolutely right. By definition privacy and freedom can't be separated.
     
  7. Page42

    Page42 Registered Member

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    What strikes me is that EK appears to be biting the hand that feeds him.
     
  8. Baz_kasp

    Baz_kasp Registered Member

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    I love it how El Reg and it's readers seem to have missed the whole "what if" tone of the original interview... where they are disucssing an alternative system taking in many assumptions (e.g. the "uncorruptability" of the system) and talking about the matter in theory and now a lot of people have quickly jumped onto the wailing privacy/freedom bandwagon and are screaming about a total non issue. :D
     
  9. LockBox

    LockBox Registered Member

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    Baz_kasp, That username tells me you might be a tad biased.

    Non-issue? Here's the relevant portion of the interview from ZDNet:

    Whether or not he has the power to do it is not the issue. Saying that in an interview is doing exactly what The Register said: "Security boss calls for end to net anonymity" Isn't that exactly what he did?

    It's no different than a reporter asking anybody their opinion on what should be done about anything. ZDNet asked a question and EK gave an answer and he did call for an end to net anonymity. No way you can spin that any other way than what he said. The "If you had the power..." part is what's of no consequence. The end to net anonymity is what EK wants, that's what he would like to see happen. That tells some of us all we need to know about Kaspersky and his lack of understanding of what freedom is all about due to his own lack of experience with it. The man graduated from a technical school run by the Soviet Defense Ministry and the KGB in the old Soviet Union before going to work for the Soviet Ministry of Defense. Enough said?


    edited to add link to ZDNet interview.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2009
  10. Pedro

    Pedro Registered Member

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    That's what i was going to quote. There's no nuance in that interview, unless the text does not accurately depict what was said.

    It's pretty straightforward stuff. :)

    If he thinks like that, i does make me wonder if i would even consider his company's offerings.
     
  11. Baz_kasp

    Baz_kasp Registered Member

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    Actually no...because I was born in the Soviet Union and I find it absolutely hilarious the way it is used as a trump card, and the automatic assumption that we are all mindless drones who know nothing about "freedom" and "democracy"....He studied on a KGB funded scolarship, big deal....I studied under a (British) Ministry of Defence scholarship, doesn't make me any less entitled to my own opinion or more likely to be a spy who wants to know what colour underwear people wear to work.

    IMO I agree with the principles he is talking about- because he is talking about it from a purely security perspective- if there was a system where everyone was identifiable, much like in a workplace, there would be a lot less chance for malware authors and cybercrime to flourish. Sure, it wouldn't rule out corruption or other flaws but a system with accountability is inherently more secure than an anonymous one.

    On the subject of anonymity and privacy as you can see there was no discussion of repressive regimes and net censorship simply because this was not what the interview was about, all it was, was a security expert giving his opinion on the way that cybercrime could have been significantly reduced in an "IF this and that" situation, not on what would happen to the banned chinese/iranian bloggers etc if such a theory was to be true.


    Freedom and democracy are all well and good, but to be honest I would sacrifice a little bit of mine if it mean that child abusers and cyber criminals have a harder time hurting our children or stealing our assets (for example)
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2009
  12. Pedro

    Pedro Registered Member

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    The sentence starts on the wrong foot.

    Sure, my freedom ends when the other person's freedom begins, but these simplistic terms are really, really dangerous.
    That's the road to end democracy imo. Thanks but no thanks. Freedom of speech is important over here for decades, and i'd wish we could keep that.

    Child abusers are best fought with other means anyway, they don't molest children over the internet..
     
  13. Baz_kasp

    Baz_kasp Registered Member

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    But they sell the produce of their abuse and encourage other like minded people to do the same. Its a protected breeding ground for their sick, twisted thinking. Only the stupid ones get caught.
     
  14. Meriadoc

    Meriadoc Registered Member

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    Not an internet I would like, another form of control.
     
  15. LockBox

    LockBox Registered Member

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    I think all interpretations - and spin - aside we should let his words speak for themselves. Kaspersky is a supporter of passports and licenses for the internet. That's the bottom line - spinning that interview any other way would make the old Pravda proud.
     
  16. I no more

    I no more Registered Member

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    I couldn't agree more with Mr. Kaspersky. I like to think of the government as our all knowing big brother, placing his giant arms around us and protecting us with his powerful biceps. I sleep easy at night knowing my government is there looking out for my best interests. That way, I don't have to think too much or worry about anything.

    If I have only one regret, it's that the governments of the world aren't bigger and more all-knowing. Just imagine if we had a camera outside every residence being fed to our leaders. They could look after our interests and well-being 24 hours a day. If I had my way, we would not only have a camera outside every residence but inside as well.

    Just imagine how safe we would all feel if our government could make sure no bad things were happening anywhere, inside or outside. I personally wish that all governments of the world would put their differences aside and form one enormous worldwide government that could take care of all of us. Freedom of thought and action are just too darn hard. It's better to let someone else take care of all that for you. :thumb:
     
  17. ThunderZ

    ThunderZ Registered Member

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    @ I no more than U

    I truly hope that was stated in jest.
    Sarcasm does not translate well in the written\typed word.
     
  18. I no more

    I no more Registered Member

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    So, I've noticed. Nothing I've said in jest thus far on this forum has been taken as intended, regardless of how many smilies I use.

    Nonetheless, I'm laying it on pretty thick. It's hard to see how it could be taken seriously.
     
  19. BlueZannetti

    BlueZannetti Administrator

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    Folks,

    Let's not head in a political direction. That hasn't appeared overtly, but some of the comments are leaning in that direction.

    As for the comments attributed to EK, well...., it's either a joke (poorly executed), something badly lost in translation, or the betrayal of a breathtaking naiveté on multiple fronts and levels.

    Blue
     
  20. LockBox

    LockBox Registered Member

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    If there was any question, as Fly noted in the 2nd post, this position isn't new for EK. He fiercely took this same position (without as much attention) with PC World/India in December of 2008. In an interview that PC World titled "Interview With A Virus Hunter" he made very similar remarks to what he told ZDNet in the interview published yesterday. Check these words out:

    "If I was God, and wanted to fix the Internet, I would start by ensuring that every user has a sort of Internet passport: basically, a means of verifying identity, just like in the real world, with driver's licenses and passports and so on. The second problem is one of jurisdiction. The Internet has no borders, and neither do the criminals who operate on the Internet. However, law enforcement agencies have jurisdictional limits, and are unable to conduct investigations across the globe. I feel we need an international agency to combat this problem, something like an Interpol for the Internet."
    Link to that interview (December of last year) at PC World Business:
    http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/155472/interview_with_a_virushunter.html

    It's no mistake, it's no joke, it's what EK thinks we need.
    Like Interpol? No thank you, Mr. Kaspersky. No authoritarian guardian for the internet. Never.
     
  21. chrisretusn

    chrisretusn Registered Member

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    I thought is was pretty darn thick. :cool: I am still wiping the dripping sarcasm off my monitor. :D

    Enjoyed your post. :thumb:
     
  22. SafetyFirst

    SafetyFirst Registered Member

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    This makes me think if there might be something inside KAV code that "god" put there intentionally but didn't tell us. :ninja:

    I suggest: boycott Kaspersky products. I know I will. :isay:

    Bye-bye, Kaspersky.
     
  23. Tarnak

    Tarnak Registered Member

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    ...and, I just won a copy of KIS 2010 in the the recent COU anniversary celebrations. - http://www.calendarofupdates.com/updates/index.php?showtopic=23850

    P.S. Willing to ~ Folks - this is not ebay. Trading/selling of items is not the purpose of these forums. Comment snipped - Blue ~
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 18, 2009
  24. lordpake

    lordpake Registered Member

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    Any intelligent individual should be able to ponder and weight different options, and not rejecting something just because it doesn't fit his/hers world view.

    Decisions can not be made unless all the options have been covered and discussed. I don't see anything bad with EK's comments regarding this issue, it's good that at least someone is willing to talk about it.

    Instead of burying his head to the sand like certain animal and pretending whatever it is it's not there ...
     
  25. funkydude

    funkydude Registered Member

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    So basically everyone using Kaspersky likes his opinions and everyone not using it doesn't. :rolleyes:
     
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