Privacy – Rights and Wrongs

PrivacyThe uproar over the issue of “Privacy,” yours, mine, your company, is loud and getting louder. There are lots of headlines, conversations, rooftop shouting and even Congress wants its piece of the dialogue.

Some of the sound is focused on the likes of Google’s new privacy statement, Apple’s management of third party Apps developers, or Social Media sites like Facebook and Twitter. The concern is centered that companies and government can collect information about us that can then be used to market other products. This type of analytics, whether just statistical analysis or from marketing studies was started in the 21st century or a byproduct of mobile phones. Rather, analytics have been studied and followed for a very long time.

The New York Times Magazine had a featured article in their February 16, 2012 issue, “How Companies Learn Your Secrets.”

Information is collected when you use a credit card, answer a telephone survey, sign a petition, request customer support or any of thousands of other ways. Paying cash can prevent your credit account being followed. On the other hand, when you are on the store’s mailing list, paper or digital, some information about you is being captured.

Today’s data volume is a lot more but technology makes things, faster and more laser focused. In addition, there are services that will gladly sell data about your ethnicity, job history, the magazines you read, etc to anyone with a credit card.

Even though privacy is something that we have been giving away, for a long time, it is essential that we all understand that privacy protection going forward is more important. Data can circulate around the planet at the speed of broadband. Wiping out old information is not likely to happen. Once you step outside your home, anyone with any kind of camera can take your picture and publish it on a social media or blog site. Everybody’s smartphone is an extension of the world’s news gathering and distribution system.

We need to be on alert and very realistic. This is not a television reality show. Privacy loss can substantially impact your business and personal lives. The easy stuff – name, address, birth date, employer, last employer, spouse’s name, etc – has already made its journey around to data bases everywhere. What you do to protect tomorrow’s data requires focus.

There is no way that any Federal or State legislation will protect your business and personal information. This task is something you have to prepare for, implement and verify. For example:

Personal

  • Reconcile credit card and bank accounts currently
  • Use strong passwords online
  • Ignore emails from folks you do not know

Business

  • Backup data files in a safe and secure location
  • Monitor company computer devices for any tracking apps
  • Establish guidelines and procedures for what data can be on a mobile device

It is time to set up effective defenses against the privacy invaders lurking nearby or far away. The smart folks at Unlimited Priorities are open to conversation with you. Contact us, we can help you prepare for the the prospects of bad guys stealing and good guys making ordinary mistakes.

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