Tag Archives: privacy

Facebook timeline – another end around on privacy

Sigh, the Facebook team is at it again, changing the UI. One aspect of Facebook that has received constant scrutiny is the interface, which at times is a bit underwhelming. So the millionaires over at Facebook (well soon to be once they IPO) have come out with a new format – timeline. The time line is suppose to give all the activity you have been doing on Facebook a better visual feel – allowing all those posts, likes, pictures, relationships, schools, events and on and on – to have a visual sense of time and timing. Great. I think. Do I really want to see the time span between posts? Or that I liked Adidas in November?

To me this smacks a bit of trying to get around privacy issues. Why? The new change will force users to go in and edit what they want to have private and what is public. The organization of all the activity you have done since day #1 (even prior to FB day 1 since they post when you were born) means there could be events/posts you thought and hoped were buried will now be cleanly displayed. Oh you said you had a family issue to take of and that is why you missed work, oops now it is nicely displayed that you were drinking a few dark lagers with your friends. I realize all this data is out there, Google, Yahoo and Bing make sure it is searchable, but now Facebook will “organize” it for us to leverage or be leveraged.

Having my activity organized should be a personal decision. Forcing an organization to our activity feels like an imposition from the 800lb gorilla – do this or else. And if things becoming public in the process so be it, allows us to sell richer layers of data to our advertisers.


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Filed under Current Events, Social media, Technology

You thought you had privacy issues with the TSA…beware of you gaming system’s snooping!

I realize this is the craziest week in the United States when it comes to traveling, one of the reasons I am thankful I hardly have to go further than 45 minutes by car…even that can be stressful at times! Of course couple this with the new TSA regulations for security screening that some are criticizing violate our privacy and civil rights and you have a recipe for a “lovely” travel season, once again I am thankful I will not be participating in this carnival.

Of course what I find interesting is there is an uproar over security actions that are necessary to protect our safety, I realize there have been some cases that are reprehensible, embarrassing and unnecessary, but if we are really up in arms about this violation of civil liberties what about the new XBox Kinect. The Kinect is the answer from Microsoft to go after the Wii market, the gaming market where simple controllers are too pedestrian and instead the way you move your arms, legs, body, head and other body parts will be translated onto the gaming screen.

Looks cool, doesn’t it! And it appears to be the new hot gaming accessory coming to the market, look out Wii! What is more interesting/frightening is the fact that the cameras that are leveraged to see what you are doing and translate those actions into the video game…can also see who is in the room, what they are wearing and what they are watching.  Ummm talk about big brother! I realize from a marketing point of view it is gold, I can run an ad on the television and actually track whether or not your watch…wow. I can use placement ads in your favorite show and see if your eyes go to that spot? Awesome. I can figure out if you live in Boston but are a Steeler fan? Great. I know whether or not you drink Coke or Pepsi? As I have stated before, there is a heated battle over the control of the television, it remains the center of our entertainment universe. The ability to bring “seeing” devices into that space would be a gold mine for marketers, but also touches a dangerous zone of privacy.

Do we really want to grant corporations and marketers such unfettered access into our homes via this game console? I realize that everything we do – surf the web, purchase goods and services, stores we walk into etc etc – is being tracked at some level and many times bundled and sold to entities interested in selling us products and services. However the visual and audio sanctity of our homes remains something that, until now, has been safe from this tracking. Seems to me that this too is under threat.

Is this good or bad? Or should we just accept that privacy is dead and move on!

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Filed under Marketing, Technology

Facebook’s biggest fear – privacy

Yes yes yes, I know I posted earlier that Privacy is dead…but it can still damage or even take down your business if not handled properly. Which is what we are seeing in the most recent privacy snafu from Facebook. Of course the social media giant is distancing themselves by blaming third party apps for the abuse of their users’ data – games like Farmville are supposedly pulling data from the users and re-purposing it for other business goals.

Not really a surprise. Let’s face it, the underlying value of these social networks and games is to be able to better construct a profile of users – there habits, interests and potential for spending money. As a marketer, one is always trying to better understand the end customer so we can ensure the right product gets to them at the exact right time when they are ready to make a purchase. Social media has given us another channel from which we can derive this information. Facebook knows this, as do their app developers.

The question becomes, when does that invisible line get crossed? Is it taboo to allow firms to purchase and build a profile of users based on their leveraging habits of social media tools? Should their be a disclaimer on everything we do on line? (btw I do not aggregate or even look at the profile information of those that read my blog!) Or should we, as cyber users, take it for granted that our information is being used somewhere and somehow to build our profiles…and we will be receiving better targeted and on message marketing and promotional materials?

In the non cyber world we are all accustom and aware that our names are on “lists” that can be bought and sold – you signed up for a catalog from JCrew…guess what? Brooks Brothers, the Gap, and other clothing retailers just purchased your address and you will be receiving their nice catalog in the mail. We have grown accustom to this in the real world….we better get accustom to it in cyber space as well. Does not mean we have to like it, there should always be simple opt out options from email, but we are already in that world.

Get used to but check your Facebook privacy settings as well!

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Privacy…what does it mean?

An out take from JiveWorld10, was a key note from the founder of cellular telephony – Martin Cooper – who started off his presentation with the statement: “Privacy is dead.” A bold statement but one that has been expressed by many others, including the king of social media Mark Zuckerberg who stated that how we view privacy has changed. See his comments from his TechCrunch interview:

So does this mean our world is turn on its head and our private lives will be splashed all over Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, YouTube …. at some level yes.  However a couple of caveats.

First, the power of social media is user created content. Therefore if you do not want to have something out in cyberspace…do not put it there. When someone complains that their privacy has been violated yet they forget that they uploaded drunken pictures from their night out via their iPhone and checked in to every place they went via Gowalla…um just check your own behavior.

Second, with all that is being shared, uploaded, tweeted, blogged, checked-in to name a number of tools we use to participate in social media the volume of noise can protect some of our privacy. Our personal lives on cyberspace can become buried very quickly in the waves of noise that is being produced every second of the day.

By no means do I think we should display our social security numbers, home addresses and credit card numbers on our Linkedin profiles, however I also believe the issue of privacy is not as major a problem as it might be portrayed.

We still control what we share. Worried about Facebook and privacy, don’t post pictures you do not want others to see, watch what you write on your wall…tenants that hold true in the non cyber world!  Too many of use enjoy the power and flexibility of social media sites without thinking of the potential consequences. There is no doubt that as we become more connected there is more information that is accessible, there is no doubt that we must be more cautious with information but much of this comes down to personal responsibility and common sense.

Privacy is dead long live privacy.

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Filed under Social media

Facebook announces location based service – Places

No surprise but Facebook has jumped on the location based social networking functions with – Places. Clearly they are going after Foursquare and Gowalla, I realize I was being master of the obvious with that statement. While I am still debating how we can best leverage these services – from a business and marketing angle – one cannot ignore when the social media giant Facebook jumps on the bandwagon. For Facebook, it provides another source of data on their users, a potential gold mine they can leverage to sell to advertisers and marketers. It will be interesting to see how well Places works for Facebook.

A good point by Jonathan Yarmis:

Something to watch, for me I already went into my FB profile to check I had the proper security settings. Just saying!

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Filed under Location Based Applications