In this issue

Issue 10 • July 2021

After the 18 months of Covid-19 lockdowns, devoting a magazine to the topic of privacy may seem counterintuitive. If lounging around in our pyjama bottoms for weeks on end, often alone, shuffling from home offices to sofas with Sisyphean stoicism didn’t teach us about keeping our own counsel, I don’t know what can. We had privacy coming out of our ears at the end of it.

But digital privacy is different. In many nations, people have been compelled to give up data on their movements and contacts to the state for the purposes of infection tracking. Often, this information has also moved through the hands of private companies such as hospitality venues. In the future, new forms of identification and verification covering vaccine status are likely to be required in many jurisdictions. Meanwhile our employers, in many cases, are seeking to monitor our behaviour even though we no longer work from their property.

So, in fact, privacy is one of the great issues of the times. And there are other groups, more worrying than governments or venues or employers, who want access to our personal data.

Cybercrooks aren’t taking their foot off the gas. In fact, ransomware gangs seem to be upping their efforts to launch new and bigger hacks. The SolarWinds, Colonial Pipeline and Kaseya attacks were just the most visible strikes. This fact has reignited the debate about whether or not paying ransomware gangs should be illegal. The argument is that a ban could cut criminals off from their revenue streams and disincentivise them. But, as we find out in this issue, banning ransomware payments is more complicated than one might think. We’ll also take a dive into the issue of vaccine passports and other forms of pandemic-related health passes.

And there’s still more. Dating apps, which have been hugely popular during lockdown and may prove even more so in the “Summer of Love”, are yet another potential privacy issue. Singles migrated to apps like Tinder, Hinge and Bumble to fight off lockdown loneliness over the course of the pandemic. However, as we explain in this issue, the growing popularity of these apps also comes attached to increasing risks of harassment, doxing and other serious breaches of privacy.

Read on for all of this plus the usual in-depth analysis and comment in the latest issue of Verdict Magazine.

Eric Johansson, editor