The dangers of the Internet that no one has ever spoken to you about – Paul Walentynowicz
Were you aware of that?
More and more large companies are. Take the Volkswagen Group as an example. Jorg Porsiel from the Volkswagen Group’s Translation Management Department points out that « For data security reasons, the use of authomatic translators offered over the Internet is not permitted within the [Volkswagen] Group. Access to websites offering such tools has been blocked. » On the other hand, a contradictory example can be identified from a survey conducted by Lingosec this year: about 50% of companies say they use the Internet to translate their internal and external multilingual communication documents, documents that are generally considered confidential. .
Het Financieele Dagblad
Do not throw your confidential information on the public square
Those who use free translation tools agree to make information about their companies available to the public.
Information is a valuable asset for most businesses. Confidential agreements with partners and other companies aim to protect this valuable asset from competition and potential hackers. But who really thinks about the dangers that threaten them within the company?
A free online translation tool seems almost too good to be true. It is actually a fantastic technological product that makes possible the translation of words, sentences and even whole databases. The most used of these tools are Yahoo Babel Fish, Microsoft Bing Translator and Google Translate, which boasts of its ability to translate into 69 languages. Almost everyone knows that the quality of these translations is mediocre, but it allows to have an immediate idea of the context of a text, perfect to quickly grasp the essence of a document. Most users do not really wonder how a « translation machine » works; they are just happy that it works.
But suppose, for example, that a customer manager, with customers around the world, receives a document in Japanese and must understand the content for a conference to be held the next morning. The internal translation department, or a translation agency, needs more time to carry out the translation that this manager needs. Therefore, as he will often do in this type of situation, he will turn to Google Translate, and in a few seconds, he thinks he has found a solution to his translation problem.
But what happens when you click on « translate »? Before you can even translate a word, the user must accept Google’s Terms of Service. Section 11 of these is particularly interesting. « By submitting content to our Services, by importation or by any other means, you grant Google (and anyone working with Google) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduction, modification, creation of derivative works (translations, adaptations or other modifications intended to improve the functioning of your content through our Services), communication, publication, public representation, display or public distribution of such content « . In other words, not only did this customer manager violate the confidentiality agreement with the customer, but he also allowed more or less confidential information about his company to be available in public at the disposal of anyone. How many employees are naively using these online translation tools on a regular basis, and how much information is leaked every day as a result? How often are confidentiality agreements being violated in this way, simply because employees are not aware of the risks they are taking by using these « free » tools? How many employees are naively using these online translation tools on a regular basis, and how much information is leaked every day as a result? How often are confidentiality agreements being violated in this way, simply because employees are not aware of the risks they are taking by using these « free » tools? How many employees are naively using these online translation tools on a regular basis, and how much information is leaked every day as a result? How often are confidentiality agreements being violated in this way, simply because employees are not aware of the risks they are taking by using these « free » tools?
Nous ne savons pas ce que font – ou feront – les entreprises comme Google et Microsoft avec les informations collectées, en revanche nous savons que Google construit petit à petit un empire d’informations. Il le fait à travers l’utilisation de YouTube (préférences musicales et vidéos), moteur de recherche Google (préférences individuelles), Gmail et Google+ (informations personnelles sur les utilisateurs), Google Maps (le monde entier sur film), Google Livres (informations sur de grandes quantités de littérature), et Google Traduction, qui collecte d’énormes quantités d’informations sensibles quotidiennement. Nous pouvons seulement espérer qu’après Wikileaks, la prochaine fuite ne sera pas une «GoogleLeak», ce qui voudrait dire la disponibilité en ligne d’une quantité abyssale d’informations confidentielles d’entreprises.
Companies would be well advised to consult with their IT department and determine how often each day their employees visit sites offering free translations, in order to find an alternative.
Het Financieele Dagblad is a Dutch daily newspaper, founded 200 years ago. He focuses on business and finance issues.