Facebook just unironically signed this pledge to “protect all of our users and customers everywhere”
Given Facebook’s recent PR crisis, it’s been in need of a little boost to the old public image recently. This might explain its decision to sign a prominent anti-cyberattack pledge this week, backed by fellow tech giants Microsoft, Dell, BT and others.
The pledge promises that its signatories will raise security awareness and bolster the resilience of the global tech ecosystem, something Facebook seems to have been on a mission to fell, if recent events are anything to go buy.
Its most prominently displayed principles, in capital letters, no less, read as follows:
- WE WILL PROTECT ALL OF OUR USERS AND CUSTOMERS EVERYWHERE.
- WE WILL OPPOSE CYBERATTACKS ON INNOCENT CITIZENS AND ENTERPRISES FROM ANYWHERE.
- WE WILL HELP EMPOWER USERS, CUSTOMERS AND DEVELOPERS TO STRENGTHEN CYBERSECURITY PROTECTION.
- WE WILL PARTNER WITH EACH OTHER AND WITH LIKEMINDED GROUPS TO ENHANCE CYBERSECURITY.
In all, there are 34 signatories of the Cybersecurity Tech Accord, including Telefonic, Nokia, ARM, and Github. Its arrival was announced ahead of the RSA Conference in San Francisco. There are some pretty major omissions at the start of the alphabetical list, though with none of Apple, Amazon or Alphabet endorsing the pledge. .
Brad Smith of Microsoft, in the meantime, is singing the accord’s praises on a Microsoft blog post: “[the] Cybersecurity Tech Accord [aims to] advance online security and resiliency around the world. It is an important step that already has broad support from many of the tech sector’s leaders and cybersecurity firms. And in the coming weeks and months, we are confident that these numbers will grow further.”
“As an industry, we have pledged today that we will design, develop and deliver products and services that prioritise security, privacy, integrity and reliability, and in turn reduce the likelihood, frequency, exploitability and severity of vulnerabilities,” Smith proclaimed.
What this means in terms of tangible political change is debatable. The accord’s signatories are pledging to “strive to protect all our users and customers from cyberattacks — whether an individual, organization or government — irrespective of their technical acumen, culture or location, or the motives of the attacker, whether criminal or geopolitical”. You’ll forgive us for taking this with a pint of salt; these tech firms might be powerful, but wading into geopolitics requires tact, diplomacy and utmost sensitivity, something which Facebook’s recent inflammatory undertakings do not herald.
Talk is cheap. While these are just words on a page, they’re good policies – but we’ll have to wait and see whether they’re actually enforced, or remain just a feel-good bit of PR.
The Cybersecurity Tech Accord can be read in full here.
Image: JD Lasica, used under Creative Commons