SEATTLE – Alex Alben is paid to worry about the lawlessness of the internet. The hackers. The unsecured networks. The fears of endless data breaches and intrusions. There will be no quick solutions, he acknowledged. But there should be reason for optimism.
“We’ve been here before,” said Alben, chief privacy officer of the state of Washington.
One century ago, a similar web of problems was spun from the assembly lines of Henry Ford and fellow automobile manufacturers.
“Within a short order of time, hundreds of thousands of cars came on the roads,” Alben said at a recent symposium held by the College of Social Sciences and Humanities at Northeastern-Seattle, a campus abutted by Amazon, Facebook, Google, and other online pioneers. “There were no laws then. You weren’t even required to have a brake on a car. You weren’t required to have a steering wheel. Cities didn’t have laws for whether you needed to drive on the left or the right.”