Many of you will have hopefully already had a chance to read the Project 2020 white paper “Scenarios for the Future of Cybercrime” prepared by Europol EC3, ICSPA and Trend Micro and watch the associated fictionalised web series 2020. If not, both the document and all 9 episodes are available at 2020.trendmicro.com. We will be carrying this theme into RSA and demonstrating Trend Micro’s technology and thought leadership.
When creating the technology baselines for the Project 2020 paper and mapping out the consumer, business and governmental scenarios, one of the greatest challenges was trying to anticipate the exponential acceleration of the technology landscape. Innovation (along with everything else in life) only ever gets faster, adoption curves are compressed and subsequent abuse and exploitation of new opportunities accelerates with equal alacrity.
While the scenarios in the 2020 document and the technology we brought to life in the web series are only meant to represent one possible future, it has been extremely interesting to watch different strands of the scenarios begin to make themselves apparent in the worlds of 2013 and 2014.
The document was published before Edward Snowden’s revelations of governmental surveillance activity; it was published before CES 2104, yet from these sources and more, we are beginning to see hints of some of the issues raised in our research.
“It is anticipated that citizens will require greater transparency and accountability from their service providers and governments, and autonomy over their data. Given the pace of expected technological developments such as augmented reality and global sensor proliferation, additional efforts will need to be made to convince Internet users of the trustworthiness of emerging technologies, and their own agency as regards Internet governance.” This has obvious parallels with the revelations of governmental agencies across the globe overstepping the bounds of what their citizens will accept.
One consequence of this has been Angela Merkel calling for the creation of a European Internet, to avoid data passing over infrastructure outside of European control, which leads me to another quote from the white paper, in 2020, “The emergence of different regional Internets frustrates international diplomacy. […] International diplomacy and Internet diplomacy are now one and the same.”
The consumer scenario deals extensively with Augmented Reality as the new de facto means for accessing online content. For the web series, we took this one step further, with the current HUD offerings being miniaturised to contact lens format, well at least for those that have the cash, law enforcement officers unfortunately were still wearing the glasses. One innovation that struck me at the CES in 2014 was the announcement by Innovega of iOptik. Their contact lens which gives the wearer “superhuman” macro vision, married with a pair of glasses kitted out with micro projectors apparently offers “six times the resolution and 20 times the area” of Google’s Glass. If you have a look online for some of the shots of the iOptik interface, you could be forgiven for thinking that they too were 2020 fans.
The world of 2020 may seem at once far off and yet too close to be significantly different from today. Trend Micro is all too aware of how rapidly the threat landscape can change and how criminals will take advantage of any new profitable avenue of exploitation. We see today what others cannot, come and find out more at RSA in San Francisco next week.