In spite of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) demands, people in the UK are still becoming victims of data breaches, an incident that could cost nearly £2.7 million according to IBM research. However, the damage goes beyond finances to reputation of the affected companies.
Among the biggest data leaks in 2019 is Facebook incident where 18 million British Facebook members had their phone numbers exposed and Teletext Holidays exposure of half a million sensitive files, including 212,000 audio files of customer calls. In other words, all these leaked data are sensitive exactly because they are means to identify a person and, when such information is exposed, privacy is hurt in the first place. But in order to make systems work better, companies and governments require more and more personal data from users and citizens, a requisition that nevertheless raise doubt and concern among people.
Matica Technologies, for instance, is one of the leading players offering identification services and products to companies and governments that need efficiency, but also safety. In this sense, Matica‘s CEO Sandro Camilleri is precise when reflecting upon the dichotomy between privacy and safety, freedom and control: “From Plato to Karl Popper, control has always been a key issue. On one hand, there is the need to defend society from threats, on the other hand, the need to ‘be defended by defenders’, to maintain the principles of democracy and freedom.”
Camilleri mentions a recently approved system from Shenzhen, China, where each traffic light contains a camera, which means a total of 57.000 devices capable of recognising the faces of drivers. With such information, police officers can monitor images from a personal level, keeping a record four each individual. “It sounds like science fiction, but it’s already yesterday’s news,” argues Sandro Camilleri. “I firmly believe that our duty, in the western world, is to do everything we can to prevent arriving at that point, and therefore equip ourselves with adequate, minimally invasive but effective tools, of transnational entities able to manage potentially dangerous situations, as well as the necessary technologies to store biometric data in documents.”
To Camilleri, the challenge is to find something in between the “Big Brother scenario” seen in Shenzhen and tragic events such as 9/11 or the 2015 Paris attacks. “We must ask ourselves, as a community, what we want to focus on. It’s easy to be indignant if you are asked four your fingerprints at customs to access the US, but it’s harder to come to grips with a terrorist attack that perhaps could have been avoided,” he says.
Matica’s solutions include products and services that respect privacy by offering fortified data storage systems at the same time its technologies are prepared to deliver safety and intelligence to problem-solving and security measurements. “The defence of life comes in the first place four me, and one of the ways to ensure this is to guarantee reliable digital identification tools, like the ones we produce everyday with my company,” concludes Sandro Camilleri.