Making Data Better

Lockstep Consulting Pty Ltd

Making Data Better is a podcast about data quality and the impact it has on how we protect, manage, and use the digital data critical to our lives. Through conversation and examination, George Peabody and Stephen Wilson look at data's role in risk management, at use cases like identification, lending, age verification, healthcare, and more personal concerns. Privacy and data ownership are topics, as are our data failures.

read less
TechnologyTechnology

Episodes

A Big Little Step: Australia Shifts from Digital Identity to Digital ID
Feb 10 2024
A Big Little Step: Australia Shifts from Digital Identity to Digital ID
Australia's online security community - government, banking, and providers - has made a major, deliberate move. Over the last year, the term "digital identity" has been replaced by "digital ID" in government and industry publications and press releases. Steve and George unravel this deliberate linguistic shift from the amorphous 'digital identity' to the more concrete and pragmatic 'digital ID', and understand why this nuanced change is more than mere semantics. It's a shift that promises greater clarity in technology, legislation, and personal identification. Tune in and explore a future where proving who you are online is not just more secure, but refreshingly straightforward.Why does this matter? As Steve and George discuss it in this episode of Making Data Better, it accurately shifts the focus of policy and technical work on to the quality of the data used for identification purposes. It frees everyone from the impossible tasks of representing our "identities" digitally.  Through our discussion, we celebrate the strides made by Australia in addressing the advancement of digital identity systems—a contrast to the comparatively uncoordinated, market-driven efforts seen in the U.S. Steve and George conclude with their perspective on how to secure digital IDs using device-assisted presentation. Plaintext presentation is the enemy. It gives hackers endless opportunities to copy (via data breaches) and replay (via fraud) that data. There is a straightforward solution that we have done before: marry the cryptographic strength of how chip cards are secured to the convenience of smartphone presentation and we have the opportunity to remove breach incentive by making our digital ID data better.There's plenty of work ahead but there's great power in what could be an uncontroversial, technically practical, achievable approach. So take a listen.
Confidential Computing: Protecting Data and Code in Use
Jan 29 2024
Confidential Computing: Protecting Data and Code in Use
Data provides the basis for how we make decisions. An enemy of security these days, from our point of view, is plain text. We need better than that. We need device-assisted support for proving where data comes from and how it's been handled. We need systems that keep data (and code) from being altered without cause, that give us the ability to trace the change history of data.  Confidential computing is a new compute paradigm that provides a hardware-based foundation for running code and the data it manipulates. It safeguards data and code (it's all data; it's all code) in its most vulnerable state: while it's being processed. In this episode of Making Data Better Steve and George are joined by Anjuna's Mark Bauer to dive into this new model's high impact on security and low impact on cloud app development. Mark dissects the mechanics behind this approach including how it strengthens the software supply chain through hardware-based attestation. He addresses its fit in modern cloud infrastructure including Kubernetes, data loss prevention (DLP), API scanning and more. The conversation addresses  the initial major use cases for confidential computing. High risk environments including defense, banking, and healthcare are obvious.  Not so obvious is securing multi-party data sets in the cloud for machine learning and AI-based applications. So take a listen to this episode of Making Data Better and learn how hardware-based security can harden the cloud.
Navigating digital ID: The role of government
Nov 7 2023
Navigating digital ID: The role of government
Ever wondered about government's role in online identification and how it could expand to help our digital economy function better and safer? Or how government data quality directly impacts risk assessment? In this episode of Making Data Better, we tackle where US and Australian governments stand on protecting our digital IDs and personal credentials. Join us as Jeremy Grant, Managing Director of Technology Business Strategy at Venable LLP, brings his insights on security technology strategy, policy, finance, and more to Making Data Better.  Jeremy speaks to his decades-long experience with US federal and state government initiatives. And to the work of his organization, the Better Identity Coalition (check out its policy papers for federal and state-level policymakers!)Government issues the credentials we rely on to prove who we are. Regulating how those credentials may be protected to enjoy expanded usage is both necessary and fraught with complications. Tech regulation has a history of being well behind technology's evolution. That said, it is coherent policy and political direction that is needed. Disparate agencies may fully understand the potential of the assets they manage but without strategic focus at the highest level, the challenge of digital ID will remain. And our exposure to fraudsters, synthetic identities, and nation-state attacks will continue.This is no small matter. FINCEN, the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, recently announced their analysis of bank-filed suspicious activity reports. They found that $212 billion of transactions were tied to compromised identity. The General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of the US Congress, estimated between $100 and $135 billion losses in public benefits fraud during the pandemic.This is real money, ending up in the hands of organized criminals and adversarial nation-states.So, take a listen to this episode with Jeremy Grant and Lockstep's Steve Wilson and George Peabody. There's work to be done.