2021 – A TECH CRISIS YEAR
The second year of the running pandemic has made it abundantly clear that if we were to move in a sensible manner and with real control over our future and our growth trajectory, we need to know what we are doing with our technology. It might belong to anybody; private, public or otherwise, would benefit us from positives immensely, but equally true is the reality, that the negatives are already putting us in a tailspin. We know how to handle nearly all our crises before the digital age. Resources and / or lack of known expertise could be a challenge at times. We understood the broad parameters of the crisis.
Not anywhere, totally enmeshed in tech and not knowing enough in a fast-paced tech world, most of the time, we don’t know what has struck us. The year about to close, 2021, can be particularly singled out for driving this message home. Revelations of lots of 2021 cyber security incidents showed that, ’global politics will define how cyber warfare plays out and that many of these attacks are not just limited government networks.’ The year opened with SolarWinds cyberattack, the world’s largest supply-chain-based cyberattacks. In this the Russian govt is believed to have directly hacked and spied on the US govt.
The terrifying fact which came to light was that Russian nation-nation-state actor Nobelium focused on ”resellers and other technology service providers that customize, deploy and manage cloud services and other technologies on behalf of their customers.” Microsoft’s serious revelations that the hackers were likely to have viewed internal source code made things more worrying. That account did not have ”permissions to access the code, to modify it, nor was it authorized to access the engineering systems.” If SolarWinds could give us a glimpse of enterprise and government network strength, Project Pegasus confirmed the worst fears of smartphones being weaponized. Sold supposedly, only to the govts at sky high costs, it has the special ability to hack into any phone; Android or iPhone with relative ease. Dissent was being hacked by this ultimate hacking tool. A real damage to our rule of law existence.
The legal battle between Apple and Epic Games has been a major tipping point in the world of tech. The app developers have for long been aggrieved. Apple and Google have a monopolistic approach and they charge 30% commission on all in-app purchases. The Apple Epic saga would continue this year too. While this battle is on, South Korea in ”particular passed a new law, dubbed as ‘anti-Google’ which states that app developers cannot be forced to stick with Apple or Google’s payment methods. The recent Facebook whistleblower Francis Haugen added her might to already tattering Facebook or rather now Meta’s reputation. The internal documents tell the whole story. Content moderation is a game which Facebook or Instagram does not want to play fair. The global chipset shortage has added a new bottleneck to the digital world’s supply chain. Global internet outages and towards the end Log4j vulnerability, have been serious ominous signs, which should not be left unattended.
THE CONTOURS OF 2021 TECH CRISIS WILL DEFINE THE FUTURE OF TECH FOR DECADES.