Laura Bliss at CityLab asked me about Dockless Bikesharing and Security for an article published as Are Dockless Bikes a Cybersecurity Threat?
I’m reaching out for a story I’m doing on possible cybersecurity and data privacy issues related to China-based dockless bikeshare companies entering U.S. urban markets. Cybersecurity experts have expressed concern over the possibility of U.S. rider data being made available to the Chinese government, given the lax nature of data sharing stipulations between private and public sectors in China. An individual rider’s location data may have value from a counterintelligence perspective, according to one former White House advisor I spoke with.Do you think this is a legitimate concern that U.S. state or local governments should be considering as more dockless services enter American cities?
From the people who failed to prevent 9/11, led us into the Iraq War, and have foisted airport security theater on the American Public, we have the latest “Yellow Peril” from China … dockless bikesharing.
I would ask in return:
1. Where was their smartphone made?
2. Where was most of their electronics made (including routers, USB hubs, and so on)?
3. Did they use Russian made Kaspersky Lab software for cybersecurity prior to December 2017?
4. Does their EZ Pass transponder come from Kapsch AG?
5. Is their toll road owned by a company based in Australia, France, Italy, Spain, or anywhere else?
There is no privacy. Data is and will be stored and accessed by our “friends” and our “rivals”. Thinking otherwise is a fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen. The US NSA will track the metadata on your phone call in any case even if the Chinese don’t get a fractional sample of some bikeshare users. One has to assume that US spy agencies have already been infiltrated, given how big a target that is.
Privacy cannot be legislated, data is never really destroyed. We still have cameras everywhere, and the state (or in this article, ICE) will just read license plates .
For possibly solutions, see David Brin’s Transparent Society. The key is not privacy but allowing sousveillance, everyone has access, not just the police.
We have a real threat on urban streets globally, the automobile and truck, both as a weapon of intentional terror and destruction, killing hundreds or thousands of people globally in actual terrorist acts each year, and more than a million in preventable crashes.
And this person is worried that China will know where some 20-something State Department intern lives, works, and clubs? Good old fashioned detectiving, like getting the State Department mailing list or looking at the White Pages, or hanging out on a corner in Foggy Bottom, or infiltrating the CIA, can get much of that information.
There are several solutions for this, including fake IDs for bikesharing membership, providing bikes to employees, or on-campus bikesharing for big sites like the CIA or NSA.
We have bigger fish to fry than dockless bikesharing.