The current pace of technology is quickly surpassing our ability to address matters of privacy introduced by these new advances. While a move toward “smart everything” can be extremely beneficial to the productivity of humankind, what structures must be put into place to ensure that increased convergence of people and devices takes into consideration an exponential proliferation of data-gathering?

IEEE’s Future of Identity Series at SXSW 2015 tackled difficult questions about privacy and security risks that have become prevalent across the globe as technology continues to evolve more quickly than infrastructure can keep up. Through the panels, A Framework for Privacy by Design, The Identities of Things Group: Paving the Way for IoT, and Lessons from Africa: Relationships over Privacy?, IEEE worked alongside leading tech innovators to explore these issues in front of SXSW 2015 attendees. IEEE continues to seek answers to these questions each day to make technology both useful and safe for the benefit of humanity via a variety of ongoing activities.

The IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) builds trusted technology platforms that address privacy and security issues by technical design while amplifying the technical community’s voice in the political decision-making process. IEEE-SA has a long heritage of enabling trustworthy exchange of sensitive data via technology. Through education and open, interoperable standards, IEEE-SA helps foster a trustworthy framework for connectivity. IEEE P2413™, IEEE Draft Standard for an Architectural Framework for the Internet of Things (IoT), for example, is currently in development to define an architectural framework to promote cross-domain interaction and aid system interoperability for the IoT. The standard is intended to provide a blueprint for data abstraction and the quality “quadruple” trust: protection, security, privacy and safety.

The IEEE Society on the Social Implications of Technology (IEEE-SSIT) is concerned with how technology impacts the world, and with how the application of technology can improve the world. The Society focuses on many pertinent issues, including design, privacy and security, and social issues of information technology and telecommunications. IEEE-SSIT offers IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, an award-winning journal containing both peer-reviewed and general interest articles, which often feature pieces on the social issues caused by potential privacy risks. The annual IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS) offers tracks dedicated to this, as well.

The IEEE Communications Society has recently focused on the security of emerging networks including those based on software-defined networking (SDN) and named-data-networking (NDN). Although these emerging networks have attracted much research effort, the security and privacy issues of these networks need more attention. The IEEE Software Defined Networks Initiative offers a free portal dedicated to exploring these issues and enlightening all who are interested.

In 2014 the IEEE Computer Society launched an initiative with the aim of expanding and escalating its ongoing involvement in the field of cybersecurity. By starting the IEEE Center for Secure Design, IEEE has positioned itself to shift some focus in security from finding bugs to identifying common design flaws in the hope that software architects can learn from each other’s mistakes. The IEEE Cybersecurity Initiative offers a free portal that educates participants about privacy and security risks, accessible to not only those engineers who work in computer security-related fields of interest, but to the general public who is affected. The IEEE Computer Society also shares information on cloud computing, including potential risks that may affect this developing field.

The IEEE Internet of Things Initiative (IoT) focuses on the challenges and opportunities presented by the IoT space. In a world of connected devices, this community’s free portal provides a chance for participants to enter a dialogue on how to make data useful and keep it safe. The IEEE Internet of Things Journal, recently launched as a joint publication by the IEEE Sensors Council, IEEE Computer Society, IEEE Communications Society, and IEEE Signal Processing Society, shows the dedication of each IEEE entity to increasing awareness and sharing knowledge about IoT.

IEEE provides a new framework for dissemination of data security-related information in the IEEE Big Data Initiative, yet another free portal focused on capturing different perspectives about the prevalence of data collection issues. Now is an exciting time to learn more about this initiative at its very beginning, as it will continue to evolve alongside the use of information.

As IEEE looks to support development of standards and internet governance for the privacy and security spaces, the commitment made by IEEE-SA to implement necessary frameworks and protocols, as well as offerings from IEEE Societies and Technical Councils, will ensure that IEEE remains motivated to helping protect and educate both engineers and non-engineers against security risks in the future.

About IEEE
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