Light Reading

Evernote CEO: Govt. Surveillance Will Be 'Solved'

Mitch Wagner
6/16/2014
50%
50%

SAN FRANCISCO -- MIT Technology Review Digital Summit -- Evernote CEO Phil Libin got laughed at when he said government surveillance could be a solved problem in the next year or two, because government needs to respond to the people's will.

"I actually don't think the government surveillance problem is going to be a major problem," Libin said. "I think that is solvable in the next year or two, just because we should just decide as a society what we want the government to do, and then the government should do that."

The audience during a Q&A with Libin laughed cynically at this point.

"I know that sounds like a crazy West Coast thing," Libin said, as the laughter continued. "I spent seven years of my life doing work for the government, in government systems, in Boston and in DC, and so I know it sounds less realistic there. But that is actually how it works. I think the problem is we don't have a consensus as to what the government ought to be doing. First we have to establish a consensus."

Business data use represents a greater threat to privacy than government surveillance, Libin said. Ad networks are the vectors most exploitable by malware, hackers, and government spying.

Still, data collection has many highly moral uses. For example, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) can use search patterns to accurately track flu epidemics. "That's great, and there's totally a guy at Google working on that. And there's 10,000 people working on the problem of how to get you to click on more ads," Libin said. The advertising business model for data tracking swamps out other, more beneficial applications.

Advertising has more problems than just security and privacy, Libin said.

"I'm biased because I just don't like advertising in general," Libin said. Even so, he said, the advertising business model doesn't scale to mobile, wearable, or the Internet of things.

"Let's say I'm working on my big desktop computer at home," Libin said. "I have a big monitor, and my average session length on my computer at home is two hours. So if I'm sitting there for two hours with two 30-inch monitors, how many pixels a minute am I willing to allocate to advertising? Maybe a little bit.

"But when I'm on my phone, I'm only using it for two minutes at a time, and my screen is only four inches, how much time and pixels am I willing to give to advertising? Almost none, which is why advertising in mobile is really thorny.

"But then when I move from the phone to my eyes, things are getting beamed directly into my retina, and my active engagement time is a second and a half. How much time am I willing to give to advertising? Really; really none at all."

Evernote Corp. 's business model is that revenue comes from individual and corporate subscriptions. "We make money right now. We have this really old-fashioned business model; we only make money from you when you decide to pay us," Libin quipped. Evernote also sells physical products, such as wallets, briefcases, and notebooks, in conjunction with partners.

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to wagner@lightreading.com.

(7)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Michelle
50%
50%
Michelle,
User Rank: Moderator
6/18/2014 | 3:55:55 PM
Re: This, this, this.
@Joe there's always a bonus but it's not always the good kind...
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/16/2014 | 8:34:13 PM
This, this, this.
> Business data use represents a greater threat to privacy than government surveillance

On the whole (though certainly not in every case) this is very true because business data is subject to government surveillance & court orders.  So you have all of the problems of the private sector spying on you -- doing way more than the government would be able to legally do -- PLUS the fact that the government can access this data (as well as hackers and other miscreants via other vulnerabilities).
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/16/2014 | 5:42:58 PM
RE: Evernote CEO: Govt. Surveillance Will Be 'Solved'
@danielcawrey, I'm thinking along your lines as well.

Advertising is their business model and I believe they will find a way to "connect-the-dots" with the transition to devices.  They found a way to commercialize the internet, streaming, etc., I share your view that they will find an effective way to advertise with evolving technology.  This is their lifeblood - so they won't stop short of their goals.
danielcawrey
50%
50%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/16/2014 | 5:09:46 PM
Re: Evernote CEO: Govt. Surveillance Will Be 'Solved'
I think that technology companies will still be able to figure out this issue of advertising on mobile and wearable devices. There's no question to that in my mind.

Companies like Google and Facebok are not desktop companies anymore. They are all about mobile, because they know that is where the eyeballs are going to be. And I think that means they will figure this advertising issue out. 
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/16/2014 | 2:23:57 PM
RE: Evernote CEO: Govt. Surveillance Will Be 'Solved'
Mitch, interesting!  One wonders where the breakdown is - has the government quit responding or have we quit demanding response?  Maybe both.

At least the Summit should remind us to be vigilant.

 
Mitch Wagner
100%
0%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
6/16/2014 | 2:16:58 PM
Re: Evernote CEO: Govt. Surveillance Will Be 'Solved'
And based on the laughter at Libin's remarks, the audience was skeptical that government is, indeed, responsive by design.
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/16/2014 | 12:59:35 PM
Re: Evernote CEO: Govt. Surveillance Will Be 'Solved'
Mitch, interesting perspective.  It sounds as if he knows the systems and what changes those systems.

I believe he is saying that government, by design, has to respond when there is enough public pressure; and his point of our defining acceptable standards of intrusion is a good one.  It probably is true that if we would make a stand on the public's acceptance of government surveillance, it would be influential in the standards and how far government can go.

His point about advertisers makes sense.  They have a single purpose of creating a need for us to buy for their products and services to make money.  There probably is a greater threat to our personal security from the data we create on the commercial side than we recognize. 

We need to be more aware - it sounds as if this MIT Summit was doing that!
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Ericsson's Hyperscale Datacenter System (HDS) 8000, featuring Intel's Rack Scale Architecture, caused a stir when it was announced at MWC 2015. For more on this revolutionary product, join me on Thursday, April 30 at 12:00 p.m. EST for a Super Webinar event, A New Hardware Paradigm for the Telco Data Center.
LRTV Documentaries
CableLabs' Clarke Updates Cable Virtualization

4|23|15   |   05:41   |   (1) comment


Former BT exec now leading CableLabs' NFV and SDN efforts explains key role of open source and updates efforts to virtualize the home network.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. II

4|23|15   |   08:19   |   (1) comment


In the second installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about cultural change, network slicing and technology advances.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. I

4|23|15   |   09:27   |   (3) comments


In the first installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about the incredible transformation underway in the communications networking industry.
LRTV Documentaries
LTE Paves the Way for the 5G Revolution

4|20|15   |   4:20   |   (0) comments


Håkan Andersson, head of 5G product strategy of the Radio Business Unit at Ericsson, discusses the role of LTE, the US and other industry verticals in building a true 5G ecosystem.
LRTV Documentaries
The 3GPP's Road to 5G Standardization

4|17|15   |   4:43   |   (0) comments


Satoshi Nagata, chairman of the 3GPP's TSG-RAN group and a manager at NTT Docomo, explains the standardization process for 5G, as well as the biggest challenges and opportunities.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu CTO Makes the Case for a New 5G Air Interface

4|16|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Michael Peeters, CTO of wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, explains why 5G will require a new air interface to meet its diverse performance targets.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu + Nokia: The New Uber-Vendor

4|15|15   |   2:42   |   (4) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown discusses the technological and competitive opportunities and challenges if a merger between Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia comes to pass.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Data Center Power Play

4|15|15   |   6:22   |   (0) comments


Huawei has developed industry-leading energy efficiency capabilities for its indoor and outdoor data center solutions, explains Dr. Fang Liangzhou, vice president of Huawei's Network Energy product Line.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Routers, Switches Get the Green Mark

4|15|15   |   2:02   |   (0) comments


TUV Rheinland's Frank Dudley explains how Huawei's routers and switches have been successfully tested by energy efficiency experts and have gained Green Mark Certification.
LRTV Documentaries
A Finn, a Frenchman & a Guy From New Jersey Walk Into a Merger...

4|15|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


Stop us if you've heard this one before... Light Reading CEO Founder & CEO Steve Saunders weighs in on the technical and cultural implications of a Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent merger.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accounting for Better Solutions

4|10|15   |   02:31   |   (1) comment


Murad Yousuf, CTO at Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance (Dept. of Zakat & Income Tax), talks about the benefits of deploying router technology from Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
What's in Store for Huawei & DataCore?

4|10|15   |   05:44   |   (0) comments


At the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany, George Teixeira, CEO of software-defined storage (SDS) specialist DataCore Software, explains why he has just signed a partnership agreement with Huawei Technologies.
Upcoming Live Events
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
In its latest survey covering network operators' plans and strategies for ICT transformation, Heavy Reading asked telecom operators worldwide to identify the most important goals and objectives for their ICT transformation initiatives. Heavy Reading also asked operators about the importance of a "digital first" strategy, which enables customers to complete an interaction across different digital channels, such as web and mobile self-service and social media.
Hot Topics
Comcast Formally Ends Its Bid for TWC
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/24/2015
What if the Comcast Merger Fails?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/20/2015
Google's WiFi-First Mobile Service 'Fi' Is Here
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/22/2015
Adtran Is Developing White Box GPON Tech
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 4/24/2015
Comcast Merger May Hinge on Hulu
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/22/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Many leading communications companies can claim to have undergone significant periods of reinvention during their histories, but none have been through more major ...
Data Center Interconnect, or DCI, is one of the hottest sectors in telecom currently. Since coming back to Light Reading last year, prodigal-son style, I've ...
Cats with Phones
Learning Curve Click Here
Pierre could never remember how to use Excel.
Latest Comment