Data Security And Encryption For Screenwriters: Who’d Have Thought Of It.

I would imagine that the last people to debate the merits of cloud-computing would be screenwriters and others employed in Hollywood (with the exception of those whose work is technically-oriented, such as people working on CGI), but an article I ran across Variety suggests otherwise.  The controversy lies around whether cloud storage is secure enough for Hollywood’s needs.  Hollywood, apparently, will require “military-grade protections” and “financial services-level security” before the cloud is adopted.  This sounds like a call for data encryption like AlertBoot.

  • Security: Something You Don’t Think About

  • No Such Thing as Military-Grade Protection

Security: Something You Don’t Think About…Until It Bites You In The Butt

Variety quotes Chris Huntley at Write Brothers, Inc., the company behind Screenwriter (as the name implies, it’s software for writing scripts).  Huntley notes that while the use of cloud-based software allows for more (possibly better) collaboration, most of Hollywood is probably anathema to putting story ideas into a medium that is open to hacking.

Why?  Because people steal ideas (…which is not illegal, actually, since you can’t “own” an idea.  However, it’s a different story when it comes to actual content in screenplays).

Huntley points out that security is not the first thing young writers are concerned about (and, in an ideal world, it never should be) but “once they have their stuff stolen, they’ll understand why people are private about their work.”

I should point out that this does not mean that one’s secure as long as he or she’s not using the cloud.  Even if all of one’s work is saved to a laptop computer that never connects to the internet, there are concerns such as a laptop getting stolen (and its contents read.  This is easily remedied with encryption software), or non-security events such as a computer crashing and one losing all of one’s work (easily remedied with timely backups).

There is No Such Thing as “Military-Grade” Protection

If you’re looking around for military-grade protection, you’re going to be disappointed (or, possibly, scammed)  While the military does use data protection software and other forms of information security, there is no running definition of “military-grade” protection, at least where data security is concerned.

As far as I know, the military uses the same information classifications any US government branch or department employs: Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret.  So, if your local DMV has to hold Top Secret-designated information in a computer (don’t ask what or why), it’s probably using the same protection that the Army, Navy, or Air Force is using (AES-256 encryption or better if it’s Secret, for example).  So much for “military grade.”

Certainly, the latter three departments have guns and tanks and other physically-maiming weaponry, so there are numerous, different approaches to security.  However, more types of security do not translate to more security (or better security, for that matter).  Take the US government leak via WikiLeaks: the information was leaked from a military source, and the US Army private that caused it didn’t do anything crazy to it.  All he had to do was feign listening to Lady Gaga.

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