Friday, 28 January 2011
Andy Gray & Richard Keys Sky Sports Data Breach
Personal privacy in the workplace also comes into play. Andy Gray and Richard Keys did not make their sexist remarks on air to the public, but in a seemingly private conversation. However, this conversation did occur ‘in the workplace’, and there are workplace discrimination laws against the use of such language. But it appears the Sky Sports commentators were unaware their conversation was being recorded. Look at it this way, I am sure the average office worker would deem it completely unacceptable to be recorded in their workplace, especially if those recordings were secretly analysed and then used against them. Their private comments were wrong, but I really doubt if everyone is perfect in this day and age, even an innocent phrase you really don’t fully understand can turn out to be offensive to someone. I remember many years ago being told off for using the phrase “brain-storming”, as it is a term which is offensive to people with mental disabilities. The choppy waters of political correctness, the right to freedom of speech and the ‘Thought Police’ are certainly full of pitfalls, and really brings into question how we define individuals privacy rights, it is starting to feel a little too Orwellian 1984 to me. I am sure Sky like most large UK based companies, provide all their staff with regular discrimination in the workplace training, so you could say the commentators should of known better, but to be balanced, I am sure Sky also have a whistle blowing and employee grievance process as well.
I think this whole affair is politically charged, as in the background we have Rupert Murdoch’s media empire’s intended takeover of Sky, so it is not surprising Richard Keys said “dark forces” were at work.
The lesson as a security professional, is hackers may well get all the limelight and write the media headlines, but in 2011 the greater security threat to a business comes from the inside. Whether a disgruntled employee, or an information thief employee out to make a quick buck, these are the everyday threats. Yet many companies continue to pay the price for these types of insider breaches, either by burying their heads in the sand and ignoring the problem, or not having the clarity to understand how to mitigate these type risk their own employees create. Just consider for minute, when you left you last job did you take any company confidential information with you? Most employees steal company confidential information, especially just before leaving the company, (http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/160041/nearly_twothirds_of_exemployees_steal_data_on_the_way_out.html). Yet many companies continue to ignore or tolerate this. This is bad business practice in the information age, as company information is a business asset, it has a real value to the business, therefore it needs to be protected, and it can actually be protected.