Tag: privacy (page 2 of 2)

The UK takes a step closer to Streams Banks – your personal data nirvana

A year ago, to the week, I was writing Chapter 8 of The Business of Influence about the future trends each and every influence professional would have to grasp. In particular, I wrote:

I consider the data and information I create directly or indirectly through my use of products and services to be private and mine by default. I may choose to make any part of it accessible to specified others and maintain my ownership, or relinquish some ownership rights, or all rights.

Should I consider entering a contract with the purchase of a product or service that entails some variation to this default – perhaps simply because delivery of the product or service is meaningless without such variation – the nature of this variation must be made explicitly clear to me in plain language, and it is then my choice whether or not to agree to those terms, which may entail my negotiating different terms or choosing not to buy that specific product or service.

To me, a future where so much data is collected about me and owned by others is nothing short of dystopia. Of course, the situation I describe above is far from where we find ourselves today and I make the case that influence professionals should be helping to lead the charge toward empowering the customer – past, present and future. As such, the chapter continues to lay out a potential privacy framework, introducing Streams Banks:

It’s the moniker I’ve given the service with the primary purpose of collecting all your digital detritus, all your so-called life streams of data, in one place on your behalf and giving you the power to analyse and visualize it all.

A streams bank archives the minutiae of your life, if you so wish. The service may offer suggestions or advice in decision-making, and perhaps it may even be relied upon to make certain decisions for you autonomously.

What on Earth could catalyse this transformation?..

Imagine that you’re a mobile telephone network operator. Right now, you own the data describing the customer’s use of your network. What competitive advantage might be had by reversing that situation, by transferring ownership to the customer – on the condition of service of course that you can have access to their data in order to determine billing and associated aspects of your service provision? And what if you gave the customer the tools to learn about her data, to download it and share it with whomever she wished. What might she learn about herself and her family? How might this data be mashed up? How much easier would it be to source the perfect tariff for the next year given the opportunity to share last year’s data? If you think that sounds bad for business you’re effectively saying that opacity is good. History has shown that walled gardens and other protective practices eventually crumble in competitive telephony markets.

Well, it seems this day is dawning. Read more

The Web this decade and what it means for your organisation

I'm a fortunate geek. I got to chair the 6UK launch back in November, with keynote by Vint Cerf – fondly referred to as one of the fathers of the Internet. And on Monday this week, I chaired Profiting From The New Web at the Royal Society with keynote by Sir Tim Berners-Lee – inventor of the World Wide Web. How cool is that?!

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, New Web, London, 23rd May 2011

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, New Web, London, 23rd May 2011 (courtesy Intellect)

I worked with the Web Science Trust and Intellect to design this week's conference, and we set ourselves this mission:

Discover new and better ways to do business, run our countries, and lead fulfilling and sustainable lives via the intelligent, innovative and diligent development of the New Web, and to make progress faster than otherwise.

Web Innovation

The term Web 1.0 is applied retrospectively to a Web of documents and ecommerce. The term Web 2.0 has come to describe social community and user-generated content. The New Web – the Web of Data or the Semantic Web, and sometimes Web 3.0 – entails the Web itself understanding the meaning of that participation and content.

A component of the Web of Data, known as Open Data, encompasses the idea of freeing data so that others may query it, check and challenge it, augment it, and mash it up with other sources. Sir Tim is particularly motivated by this vision given its potential to drive scientific breakthrough, enhance delivery of public services and open up new frontiers for competitive advantage. Read more

Do Not Track

Today, I’m in Paris. I’m working with the Mozilla Europe team to prepare for the imminent launch of Firefox 4 and Firefox Mobile. And this prompts me to write here on the subject of privacy – a hot topic and one on which your organisation can lead, to your customers’ advantage and yours.

Mozilla is a global, non-profit organisation dedicated to making the Web better. It emphasises principle over profit, and believes that the Web is a shared public resource to be cared for, not a commodity to be sold.

This means that whilst Internet Explorer must justify its existence to Microsoft, Safari to Apple, and Chrome to Google, Firefox is only answerable to you. Many consider Mozilla to be the sole reason we’ve all moved on from the terrible browsing experience Internet Explorer 6 gave over 90% of Web users back in 2003. And now Firefox is the most popular browser in Europe.

Back to privacy. Do you know what information your browser is reporting about your browsing habits? Do you know that some high profile websites add as many as 100 tracking devices to your computer?

Now, lest you think this is some kind of hippy essay, I’m a capitalist. I believe the for-profit motive is the best mechanism we’ve found to date to improve life. But we’ve also seen in recent times that some free markets require a bit of intervention now and then; a spot of regulation. Indeed, a recent Business Week article identified how free-marketers are as fond of regulation as they are more widely reported to dislike it. Read more

My browser history is my own, so back off with your unethical social media metrics

Privacy is a personal thing. Some people want to be as "off grid" as they can get. And then there are those who actually bolt a camcorder to their heads and stream their life 24/7. Irrespective, I believe there are some things that everyone expects to be private by default; even Marc Zuckerberg! And one of these is your browser history... the log that lists every webpage you visit.

It's this list that enables modern browsers to suggest auto-completions for URLs as you enter them in the address bar. It's this list you might visit when you're trying to find that something or other you stumbled across the other day. It's this list that allows your browser to try to render unvisited links one way, underlined blue by default, and previously visited links another way, underlined purple by default (even though individual webpages and associated styling information may actually override these defaults).

My browser history is mine. My wife's browser history is hers. Your browser history is yours.

But whilst the Internet turned 40 last year, the World Wide Web is still a teenager, and that relative immaturity places irresistible temptations in the path of the less ethical. And being able to read your browser history is just one of those.

Has your browser history been "sniffed" recently

You wouldn't know. Read more

Tell us about an ad you've come across and loved today

This was the question I posed upfront at the Convergence Conversation I chaired last night. The topic of the conversation – “Advertising and the impact of convergence”, and a topic sufficiently compelling to attract 80 people on a summer’s evening.

Deloitte kindly hosted us, with Jolyon Barker, their Head of TMT, kicking off proceedings, and Knowledge and Research Director Paul Lee presenting an overview of their third “The state of the Media Democracy Survey”. One of the reports main findings is that, following a survey of 2000 Brits, 60% regard their computer to be the premier entertainment device, relegating TV to second place. Not an inconsequential finding for the advertising industry.

Which begged a second question “What is TV?”, and this garnered more responses than my first question of the evening, which went uncomfortably unanswered. How could such a simple question about describing a great ad, particularly when we have hundreds every day to chose from, draw such a blank response? (I've posted here one of a series of ads from Lloyds TSB that I loved because they tell a story rather than simply hit me over the head with a product.) Read more

A Rolling Stone gathers no location based information

Ron Wood - Guitar Player - The Rolling Stones....
Image via Wikipedia

I met Ronnie Wood this week. He sat down next to me in a bar and bought me a drink. That ranks him in my book as a very nice chap. And I got a 90 minute window into living life as a globally famous rock star, an insight that confirmed my relief, as if the situation could be otherwise, that I'm not a 'celebrity'...

  • "Is that Ronnie Wood? Ronnie Wood? Rolling Stones? Ronnie Wood?"
  • "I don't believe it... is that really you? We're big fans of......"
  • "I've got all your albums."
  • "Could I have your autograph and a picture with you?"
  • "I don't believe it, is it really you?"

Although Ronnie has had four decades to come up with witty ripostes, I particularly liked his response to the last one... "Actually, I only came fifth in a Ronnie Wood lookalike competition." From what I saw, he has a lovely way in dealing with the countless people that approach him; what the rest of us would call invading our space.

We got talking about my line of work having danced through the ages of music technology, from the vinyl and 8-track of the mid-60s, through compact cassette and CD to mp3. Not unexpectedly, Ronnie mourns the passing of the physical format, but loves the idea that music has returned to the 60s notion that it's all about the music, having been distracted in between times by the huge music marketing machine. The 80s and 90s were all about shifting massive volumes of records and CDs, and gigging was just a distraction. Read more