Monday, September 12, 2011

Privacy is good business

We often hear the naive - and wrong - assertion that you don't need privacy unless you're guilty of doing something that you need to hide. Google it - there are a lot of articles, including some excellent thinking by renowned guru Bruce Schneier, that prove this false.

But there's a much more fundamental set of reasons: privacy is vital to help business work.

  • We've been approached by someone who wants an exclusive agreement to distribute our software in an industry vertical; 
  • Prior to our public beta launch, we had a number of sensitive commercial conversations with a different company, in a different industry;
  • As I work with a management accountant and other business advisers, we need to transfer financial and other information between us - and we recognise the need to keep the conversations between us, rather than utterly public!
If privacy were not needed to help business transactions develop then we wouldn't have the proliferation of confidentiality and non-compete agreements signed between business parties.

By making it harder for companies to use encryption technologies to protect their information as it travels, Pakistan and other countries banning the technology can only harm their economic life: outside investors will be more wary of trading with companies in those countries; and companies in those jurisdictions will be tempted - or forced - to ignore the ban.

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