2013 was the year of Snowden: Gartner

Analyst firm also expects changes to local legislation to raise awareness around privacy

2013 in the security space was the year of Snowden, according to Gartner.

Rob McMillan, research director at the analyst film, picked the Snowden revelations as the key security topic from last year, as it “dominated the airwaves” more than anything else.

One reason why this story gained such notoriety was for the monitoring aspect of phones and other communications infrastructure.

“Whether you love it or hate it, or consider it ethical or not, monitoring of communications channels has been a prevailing practice for years,” McMillan said.

While the political aspects may make it newsworthy, McMillan said it “not really news” from a security angle.

“Allegations that traffic between datacentres has also been monitored might be uncomfortable, but many security professionals would have regarded this as a risk to be managed for many years,” he said.

“It confirms the existence of a situation that many careful organisations would have planned for.”

Leaks from within

Another reason for the interest about Snowden is the manner in which the news reached the media and was then disseminated by the media.

“It’s arguably a bit surprising that someone who was engaged in such a secretive organisation may have broken the news,” McMillan said.

“Issues around access to sensitive information and the possibility of leaks by insiders is something that many careful organisations plan for and control.”

The topic of privacy is already a hot top globally due to Snowden’s disclosure, but McMillan expects further local interest as new legislation giving the Privacy Commissioner greater powers comes into effect.

“Privacy should be on the agenda of any organisation that carries out business in Australia, regardless of wherever they are headquartered globally,” he said.

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.

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