The big tech amnesty
We shouldn’t really be surprised at the latest Facebook data scandal. I mean, a new one comes along every week, right? The news that hundreds of millions of passwords were stored in plain text
is particularly worrying as it wasn’t about unsavoury business practices, and instead caused by poor security among its developers.
Facebook’s data is its business – storing plain text passwords is akin to leaving the Crown Jewels behind an unlocked door. If someone finds out the door is unlocked, you’re in trouble.
The company says
there’s no evidence the passwords were accessed outside Facebook, or that staff who had access to the misused them, but – well, it’s hard to trust Facebook these days, isn’t it? We may never have found out about this breach if Brian Krebs hadn’t gone public about it.
And yet most of us read stories like this and then go straight back to using Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. We care, but we don’t really care enough to change our ways.
It makes me wonder whether governments should just force companies big tech companies like Facebook to reveal all their worst practices in one go. “Before we introduce harsher regulation, let’s have an amnesty on all your bad behaviour – let it all out in one go so we can all start with a clean slate.”
That wouldn’t happen because it would be a magnet for civil lawsuits, but it would be interesting to see what would come out if it did. I’m willing to bet that for all the scrutiny of Facebook’s misdeeds, other tech companies have similar practices that would make us gasp with horror… if we ever found out about them.