The editorial in this morning’s Irish Times returns to the subject of privacy an the threat posed by social networks:
For some, new technologies raise troubling questions about Orwellian surveillance and the dangerous blurring of the public and private spheres. Most of these businesses, after all, are based on the premise that you, the user, are the product, with your personal data mined for the benefit of advertisers and other commercial interests. Such concerns are legitimate, but they are not the whole story; new technologies also offer potential for positive social change, greater accountability and transparency. They require governments and organisations to engage in more meaningful ways with their citizens and clients, and they can harness the power of the crowd to make sure that this actually happens.
I am reminded of comments previously made by analysts in this sector: No personalisation without transparency. It is a question of balance between what you are willing to share in order to receive relevant content/ suggestions. Unfortunately ‘willing to share’ is often replaced by ‘inadvertent sharing’.
Interesting to see the editor balancing the threats posed with the potential benefits in terms of greater transparency and accountability. I think the most practical step the Irish Government could take in this respect would be to participate actively in the growing movement of publishing data using linked open data formats.
This is a question faced my many businesses; it’s also a familiar question for me in my role as an external advisor. And as with all of these situations there is no definitive answer. It depends.
Read an excellent piece of AMR research written by Jim Shepherd on the same subject (September 2009).
This reminded me of a number of the core questions:
- What are you trying to achieve?
- Have you a plan for the business?
- Have you an understanding of where the current application cannot meet current of future business needs?
- Are you using the power of the current application/ application suite?
- Are you having issues in terms of support and/or enhancements?
- Does the application vendor have a roadmap (and the resources to deliver on the roadmap)?
- What is the user forum telling you?
- Have you the budget and the internal capabilities to take on a new ERP project?
- Is the current application(and associated support costs) a fit for the size of your business e.g. in the context of any significant downsizing?
Given that ERP implementation represents open heart surgery for most businesses the decision to change is not to be taken lightly. As against this must avoid good money after bad money.
Often there will be vested interests within an enterprise – those with a status quo agenda, those seeking other changes, perhaps off the back of an ERP implementation. It is a key decision for any business – and needs to be made in a structured, unbiased way.
I have tried Google Latitude and I am currently trying FourSquare. and, doubtless, when the Facebook option is available in Ireland I will also try it. But what are the practical applications for this technology, for me?
As with all of these technologies they depend on reaching a level of penetration in the general community (more specifically in your won community) to make them useful.
Seemed to me the following had potential: family at various events over the weekend – if we share our location can assist in tracking people down, organising lifts to/from matches, etc. Indeed if used by all coaches of all teams within the various sports clubs then may help in terms of getting players and coaches to right venues.
This will not work for me at this stage. My experience, to date, is that the large majority of my firends do nto want to share location information – down to basic privacy and personal preferences. In fact, a significant minorityu do not want to have anything to so with social networks.
I think some form of integration between my diary and my location software would be useful – and may encourage greater use.
For now I will continue to test the various products. Perhaps it’s a generational thing, perhaps it’s a cultural thing, perhaps it’s a question of adoption, perhaps it’s a question of privacy.
Today’s Irish Times has a good piece on this subject.
Looks like the US government is less concerned than some European governments re Google and data privacy…’Google has whacked one mole out of many, at least in the United States, where the government announced yesterday it has closed its investigation into SpyFi, the Street View data-collection controversy’. For more detail
I think this speaks to different cultural outlooks on privacy across different jurisdictions. Is this down to the fact that the notion of ‘privacy’ is disappearing in certain countries?
I attended an excellent seminar in Dublin by SFI and ISIN. Dr. Paraic Sheridan, Centre for Next Generation Localisation (CNGL), gave an excellent presentation on the ongoing work of his group in relation to Next Generation Localisation.
Paraic reminded all present of the rapid growth in social networking outside the English speaking world. He referenced numbers in respect of China which would indicate social network sites there have the capability of bypassing Facebook in terms of numbers of users very soon.
This caused me to begin to look at some of the Chinese and Indian sites. You are quickly reminded to THINK GLOBAL.
Seems like Facebook made some more mistakes with your data. And reading through this you are reminded again that Google has had its problems.
When you decide to trust someone with your information that’s what you do – you trust them (to take care of the data and use it only as you agreed with them). And that includes trusting them to be competent to mind the data and to limit their interactions with other parties to parties that do not risk compromising your trust.
Some the previous issues with Facebook have related to the complexity of administering your own security within Facebook. This seems like a very different issue.
I continue, for now, to be a facebook user.
The recently published Kroll survey points to information theft having bypassed all other forms of fraud. Not surprising in the context of increasing dependence on information technology, increasing complexity of systems and increasing sophistication of criminal gangs.
Some of the key questions for businesses:
Do you know what you are trying to protect?
Have you completed a risk assessment?
Have you take action in respect of risks identified?
Would you know whether you have been subject to attempted or successful information theft?
Still surprising to see how many businesses have not completed a risk assessment.
Accenture’s recent report would indicate very positive developments for Open Source solutions. Interesting commentary recently in Silicon Republic
The article attributes the trend to a number of developments – including growing confidence in the sector. I think this general trend ties in with the cloud, people’s own experience of using a range of open sourced tools and generally questioning the ability of large software enterprises to go it alone and develop better applications that those sourced and developed in an open market. The debate is most definitely moving on from a pure cost saving one – which has always been debatable.
What is the timeline for the Irish government in terms of linked open data? When you read newspapers full of stories about TD expenses, FAS waste, the objectives of An Board Snip – surely publishing data in meaningful, useful formats is part of the way forward. And it must be just one element of being a smart economy. And promoting a level of transparency (and accountability) which we crave as a society.
When I read pieces like Government Should Do its Own Data Homework by Jeni Tennison it just reminds me of the progress we need to make here in Ireland. And we have the expertise – in the IT community and, in particular, in DERI.
Perhaps there is an initiative – but I do not remember reading anything about a timeline.
Jury still seems to be out. In spite of the penetration of social networks in people’s personal lives there still seem to be lots of executives who do not believe their employees should have access to social networking platforms in the workplace.
This is an interesting piece on social CRM – Harish Kotaida has blogged on this subject on a number of occasions e.g. enable, empower, engage. I believe his arguments are very persuasive. What do you think?