Simply Secure aims to make security technology usable

Just two days after they joined a collaboration that will focus on making open source “easier for everyone,” Google and Dropbox have announced that they will be working together on another initiative: Simply Secure.

“Security’s got to be easy and intuitive, or it won’t work,” pronounces the organization’s website. “Usable security isn’t easy, and we don’t pretend that it can be realized overnight. By listening and leveraging the expertise of existing communities, we aim to improve what’s already underway, and share knowledge and resources that help others do the same.”

The organization will concentrate on open source projects, as they believe that security and privacy technologies must be open to public scrutiny. They will also concentrate on technology that secures communication on top of existing platforms and services and, finally, they promise that they will be also sharing both their successes and their mistakes, as the community can learn from both.

Sara Sinclair Brody, a former Product Manager at Google, will be leading the organization, helped by an advisory board that numbers seven highly regarded infosec researchers, engineers, professors, and privacy activists.

“There are already many credible and exciting software-development efforts that aim to make privacy and security ubiquitous. Rather than create redundant initiatives, we will focus on supporting existing open source work by providing usability and development expertise, direct ties to user communities, connections to funding sources, and other resources,” the organization made clear.

“To build trust and ensure quality outcomes, one core component of our work will be public audits of interfaces and code. This will help validate the security and usability claims of the efforts we support.”

“Over the coming months, Simply Secure will be collaborating with open-source developers, designers, researchers, and others to take what’s there—groundbreaking work from efforts like Open Whisper Systems, The Guardian Project, Off-the-Record Messaging, and more—and work to make them easier to understand and use,” Meredith Whittaker, Google’s Open Source Research Lead, and Ben Laurie, Senior Staff Security Engineer at the company (and also a member of the Simply Secure advisory board) shared in a blog post.

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