We’re in an era of breaches and violations and stolen identities. For the most part we’re dealing with global entities that own the means whereby politicians garner votes, have vast access to capital to fund lobbying efforts, and are constitutionally certain of their own moral cause.
So are we doomed to let them take our data and then to watch as that same data is used against us or shared by hackers? Yes, frankly.
The solution? Let’s make a digital Environmental Protection Agency. Call it the Digital Protection Agency. Its job would be to clean up toxic data spills, educate the public, and calibrate and levy fines.
How might a digital EPA function? Well, it could do some of the work that individuals do today. For example, the website of Australian security expert Troy Hunt, haveibeenpwned.com keeps track of nearly 5 billion hacked accounts. You give it your email, and it tells you if you’ve been found in a data breach.
A federal agency could and should do that work, not just one very smart Australian—and it could do even better, because it would have a framework for legally exploring, copying, and dealing with illegally obtained data/information.
You could pull this off with $15 million or $20 million for tech infrastructure and to support a team—four engineers to build the platform, some designers, and then a few dozen graphic artists to make the charts and tables.
Related reading: Holding algorithms (and the people behind them) accountable is still tricky, but doable