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Asset disposal will be info minefield

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The PoPI Act is awaiting an implementation date and when in effect, it will hold organisations liable for the safety of their information. Companies could face massive fines and reputational damage claims, if they fail to upgrade security systems ahead of the implementation of the Act.

Most executives have very little or no idea when it comes to IT asset disposal (ITAD) or the dire consequences the Protection of Personal Information Act 2013 (PoPI) could have on them.

The PoPI Act is awaiting an implementation date but, when in effect, it will hold organisations liable for the safety of their information. Companies could face massive fines up to R10-million, civil claims, and reputational damage claims, if they fail to upgrade information technology security systems ahead of the implementation of the Act.

The successful adoption of this Act will depend on a comprehensive understanding of the digital aspect of the new laws. Companies will be forced to change their processes to ensure that the personal information and data they collect is protected.

Not only is the introduction of mandatory protection of personal data a huge challenge for companies, but now organisations are being prompted to rethink how they approach the reuse, recycling or recovery of their e-waste.

In addition, the National Environmental Waste Management Act 2008 (NEMWA 2008) and the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 (CPA) also have a bearing on sound IT asset disposal.

Xperien CEO Wale Arewa says they are involved in systems analysis to determine what IT resources are required for the organisations and they manage multimillion-rand procurement budgets to maximise return on investment (ROI). “Considering that the largest budget is often allocated to maintenance and support, they are prudent in selecting partners to implement maximum uptime.”

Arewa explains that auditability is paramount to maintaining this control and also provides the necessary feedback that will reduce costs, andshortages, and negate the whole compliance process. “For example, if a hard drive is lost during transportation, it may contain the personal information of thousands of clients or employees. The loss of personal information could be detrimental to any business, this is why it is so important to be fully compliant.”

Arewa also warns that liability for protecting data may be transferable, but protection of reputation is not. “We have around 50 operators in the industry offering ITAD services; they range from one-man bands to managers supplying after-hours services to their companies, printer repair and service companies, scrap metal dealers, e-waste consultants, removals contractors and leasing companies offering ITAD services.”

He advises customers to offset the cost of a secure IT asset disposition programme by realising its potential savings. “How? By retiring your technology assets wisely. Find yourself a third-party specialist with deep experience in secure IT asset disposition.”

However, Arewa cautions that there are few companies that offer ITAD as a core function.

“This trusted partner can help you find the metrics to convey a secure asset disposition plan’s ROI to budget-minded superiors. Moreover, once the job is under way, your partner will provide complete documentation of the disposal process. You’ll rest assured that security regulations are being met,” he explains.

Reputable asset disposal service providers should develop effective solutions to address everyday challenges, beginning with the risks associated with data loss. Handover of retired equipment should be immediate to avoid the inevitable loss that occurs in IT storerooms. Furthermore, secure reverse logistics with a chain of custody should be provided for each item containing a hard drive and daily trend reporting must be included so that undesirable trends can be identified before they become critical.

Ideally, there should be a project management system that offers the following:

• Develop a secure chain of custody for the assets

• Minimise storage to prevent shortages

• Call centre to schedule hardware collection

• Packaging

• Secure transportation

• On-site data elimination

• Mobile hard drive destruction

• Data destruction compliance certificates

• E-waste disposal compliance certificates

• Asset buy-back

• Trending reporting

• Audit trail

“If your service provider can deliver all this with clear and transparent charges, you are on the right track. However, if you don’t have a service provider that understands that data loss may lead to reputational loss, you may want to establish whether your service provider is an accredited professional.

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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Buy 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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Pizoelectrics: Healthcare’s new gymnasts of gadgetry

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Healthcare electronics is rapidly deploying for wellness, electroceuticals, and intrusive medical procedures, among other, powered by new technologies. Much of it is trending to diagnostics and treatment on the move, and removing the need for the patient to perform procedures on time. 

Instruments become wearables, including electronic skin patches and implants. The IDTechEx Research report, “Piezoelectric Harvesting and Sensing for Healthcare 2019-2029”, notes that sensors should preferably be self-powered, non-poisonous even on disposal, and many need to be biocompatible and even biodegradable. 

We need to detect biology, vibration, force, acceleration, stress and linear movement and do imaging. Devices must reject bacteria and be useful in wearables and Internet of Things nodes. Preferably we must move to one device performing multiple tasks. 

So is there a gymnast material category that has that awesome versatility? 

Piezoelectrics has a good claim. It measures all those parameters. That even includes biosensors where the piezo senses the swelling of a biomolecule recognizing a target analyte. The most important form of self-powered (one material, two functions) piezo sensing is ultrasound imaging, a market growing at 5.1% yearly. 

The IDTechEx Research report looks at what comes next, based on global travel and interviewing by its PhD level analysts in 2018 with continuous updates.  

Click here to read how Piezo has been reinvented.

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