The previous century has given as a heritage the information technologies. There is a great consensus about the importance of IT as the new industrial revolution. It is true that the productivity or our societies has got a huge increase due to digital information processing and wide connectivity. In the first half of the XX century the world was local and national. However, today, the world is global and international. This cannot be possible without the capability to establish connections and to make electronic transactions and businesses in real-time through a totally connected communication network.
Modern organizations must be adapted to the new paradigm. The digitization of businesses is a must in the near future for any society and the adaptation of national legislations to the current real world is something unavoidable.
One of the main challenges of our societies can be that legislation usually is not very friendly with technology changes. The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle said several millennia ago, that the laws must last for a long time in order to be effective. Many changes of laws only produce legal uncertainty that is very bad for the economic development. On the other hand, technology innovations drive changes in the customs and habits of people who can turn some laws into something void and useless, and sometimes a reformed legislation can be required. Governments must find a balance between legal certainty and reforms.
A totally connected world is not only a source of benefits but a source of threats too. In the same way as an open window can be an invitation to the thieves, and open connection is always a risk of being attacked by many kinds of delinquents. The need of security is every day growing, and not only to avoid robberies but anything. Any kind of crime can be executed or supported by the use of digital connections.
In addition, in a competitive world, digital connections can be used by the intelligence services of potentially enemy countries to get information, and the cyberspace can be used as a modern battlefield where is possible to make a great harmful impact with minimal resources and risks for the attackers. Modern warfare can be focused on different targets far from military ones. A state is not only the government but all its citizens. Chosen targets can be traditional as military facilities or critical infrastructure like power plants but can be more sophisticated as the sabotage of banks, stock exchange, or even the minds of people through fake news in an electoral process.
Nowadays, a cold war or even a hot one can be executed without sending spies to other countries. Connectivity provides full access to a lot of data that can be gathered and to control systems that let hackers to sabotage any activity.
In this scenario, with high connectivity, changing and complex technologies, and geopolitical unbalance, governments cannot be the only depositaries of the responsibility for a secure state. Private organizations and all the citizens must assume the risks and defend themselves from the threats and make a contribution to preserve their nations secure. The time for the compromise of military and police and the irresponsibility of the rest of the citizens has gone. Nowadays, the responsibility must be shared by all the citizens that are part of the states. People must forget to demand more rights and they must assume more duties.
Although this discourse can sound negative and it can produce fear about technologies, this is not the aim of this discussion. Technologies provide tools in order to avoid many of the risks that arise with connectivity too. With IT data security has been developed as a new science. It has evolved fast from 1975. Cryptography lets to preserve the privacy of data and to assure the authenticity of messages. Encrypted communications let that most of those risks commented previously can be avoided. Encryption acts as a door with a key that close the access for not desired people.
Current encryption and authorization techniques as PGP are used with trusted certificates that are provided by a certification authority, however, although many people do not know, PGP was developed to be used without a certification authority too. A certificate could be signed by several people providing high level of trust in function of the number of people and the trust that we have got in them. The scheme of secure messages can be provided without a central authority. This would let that people can establish their own trusted networks without the need of a regulator or a government. This is an example of how technology provides solutions to many of the risks of the current world without the need of great legislation changes if people are conscious of their responsibility on assuring data and messages. Fake news exists because people create networks sharing information but they do not create trusted ones. Fake news could be avoided if people only transmit original trusted messages instead of anything they receive.
The future will require new technologies to continue with this challenge. Encryption can be finally cracked, especially with faster computers that appear every year. The new paradigm in this field is post-quantum cryptography. Its aim is to produce cryptographic primitives that are secure against attacks using quantum computers.