Security Concerns Call for Industry-Wide Standards, Sun Microsystems’s McNealy tells BCS

Common IT industry standards are increasingly likely as privacy and security concerns increase, says Sun Microsystems co-founder Scott McNealy in an exclusive interview with the British Computer Society (BCS).

In the wide-ranging interview, McNealy says: “I think that [professionalism] is a valuable thing. It was a little hard to do in the old days when there were literally hundreds of different computer languages and interfaces and APIs and all the rest of it. With a lot more consolidation and standardisation I think you can start to look for certification. The area I would encourage the BCS to focus on is some common standards and understanding on the areas of privacy and security.”

“People want to feel safe and comfortable that a technician is not going to compromise their privacy; that they are going to maintain the levels of security in the systems that they work on.”

He adds: “It's all about knowing who's who, what's what and who gets access to what. I think that's the biggest single challenge for anybody who's going out onto the web, or presenting services out on the web—you've got to know who gets access to what.”

McNealy also believes that, contrary to popular opinion, there are enough high-profile industry role models in the history of computing to inspire youngsters into a career in IT. The next generation of IT ‘stars’ were likely to come from outside the UK and the US, he predicts.

He also shares his observations on the impact of the internet and new media on the publishing and newspaper industries, saying traditional media mediums were facing one of the biggest transformations of any industry as a result of blogging, citizen journalism, Ebay and YouTube.

His vision of the future, he says, would ironically involve fewer computers, but more handsets and other devices, which were already helping bridge the digital divide, he believes.