privacy

Starting a business community

As you’d expect, Teligent gives a very quick & precise heads-up on adding community to a business:
6 Things For The Community Strategist To Think About

You’d think that folk starting social businesses would get past the technology & think about what their users expect – should a start-up be fortunate enough to have any users… Last year Rapleaf upset some folk when early adopters felt their privacy had been violated. Rapleaf reacted quickly, and a crisis was avoided.
This year, socialminder managed to stir up the privacy storm.

Two things to note.
1 The storm raged faster & more intensely this time around, as Twitter spread the ‘news’.
2 Early adopters have different expectations from later mass users… they’re probably *more* sensitive to privacy abuse. (I’ve no science to back this up, just years of watching 😉

socialminder (& indeed rapleaf) aren’t doing anything that Plaxo et al get up to – but the mass user perhaps doesn’t manage their network reputation as sensitively as tech-savvy early adopter types. That’s a challenge for any savvy startup in this area – early adopters are (probably) a vital part of your launch strategy. Their feedback can iron out many bugs & unintended design consequences.

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Two digital marketing strategies

Seth nails it: there’s two ways to market online – burn permission with frequency (make money  now, rebuild your customer base later), or engage, and dig in for a longer haul, but with permission.

I’ve always been a fan of the latter – work the customer base, with their consent, to grow your network by engaging theirs. Rather than talking about ‘permission’ which has a kinda ‘yes/no, once & for all time’ feel to it, I think of this as ‘consent’ –  it has a softer feel to the relationship, & maybe there’s more of a 2 way sense to the relationship.

Governments, privacy & data

No, I don’t particularly trust government with my data – but then I fully expect all organisations to at some time abuse the trust I’ve placed in them.

There’s two types of problem here – errors (a polite way of saying ‘incompetence’, and ‘breaches of trust’ where data given in good faith is then used for a different purpose.  In so many ways the web makes these errors & breaches of trust transparent – I’m sure these things went on in the past, but folk just didn’t know about them.

The only answer is to take responsibility for your own privacy.

The long term solution would be to have an efficient personal recourse & compensation  system. At present there is no commonly agreed straightforward way to alert a company to loss or misuse of your data – and no sense of an appropriate value for compansation.

A friend who had £500+ stoln through a credit card fraud “fixed” the problem with one phone call to Lloyds TSB (well done them for dealing with it so quickly). But he’ll be without £500 for 10 days or so: what’s that worth?  And for all the background fraud protection that does go on in business, nobody seems to be asking why the data was in the wild in the first place.  In the particular case of financial data, chip & pin doesn’t seem to be the answer: fraud rose after its introduction.  If we customers can help by changing our behaviour, then being guided on what behaviour to change would be a good start.

The Government’s reward for finding lost families data is less than the commercial rate for name & address data; appended family & financial data would cost several times more than the reward offer for a single use of the data.

One can only wish the Data Privacy Consultation well; i’ll look into it to see if I can contribute, constructively. The folk I’ve met from the Information Commissioner’s office have always been just the kind of folk you’d want in charge of your data. I hope they can spread some of their good karma & thinking to other government departments & businesses.

A stand on internet privacy from Google

“Privacy laws have not kept up with the reality of the internet and
technology, where we have vast amounts of information and every time a
credit card is used online, the data on it can move across six or seven
countries in a matter of minutes,” Mr Fleischer told the Financial
Times
ahead of his speech.

This is good.

It may be a partially-formed thought at the moment, but without Google’s participation, any initiative will struggle to become a standard. With Google’s involvement, online practice and laws have a chance of defending our privacy – but in ways that are practical for individuals and lawyers, and commercially sound for online businesses.

So for example A Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web and has a lot more chance of becoming accepted if it’s adopted by Google – and Skype. It’ll be interesting to see how the two approaches compare.

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Google’s Socialstream blends content…

There’s a video demo of this companion/development of Orkut and a good description on  Googlesystem’s unofficial blog
… which looks just fine – but but but is it just going to feed our privacy concerns?

I’m sure Google will draw a clear line between the data they allow to be scraped & blended into nosey services… but where will they draw the line? And how far back will Google go into our histories?

Picked up from Mashable

The UK’s internet fraud map… worrying privacy issues

“London has been confirmed as the web-fraud capital of Britain, leading the pack when it comes to CNP (cardholder not present) fraud.

With an increase of around 22% in national internet card crime, the latest Early Warning Fraud Map
shows London, Manchester, Coventry, Kilmarnock and Bristol as
sustaining significantly more fraudulent transactions than elsewhere.”

…from Antony Savvas, at Computer Weekly – it’s a good follow through from his post in March this year:

Over one-in-ten (12%) internet users have experienced web fraud in past 12 months, costing them an average of £875 each.

The figure is reported by government and industry online safety campaign Get Safe Online.
 
A
survey among UK internet adult users (who number a total of 29m) found
that 12% had experienced online fraud in the last year. 

In
that time, 6% had suffered fraud while shopping online, 5% had
experienced another form of general online fraud and 4% were subject to
bank account or credit card fraud as a result of activity online (some
users experienced more than one of these types of fraud).”

The fraud map broadly follows population – no surprise there. What’s most worrying is that fraud rose by 22%. That may simply be the fraudsters’ response to chip n pin’s introduction in February 2006 – which may well have shifted card fraud from point of sale to cardholder not present transactions.

But if we can’t keep our money secure, with the help of our banks, then what chance have we of keeping our personal data secure? It’s a real issue, because no amount of protection by our banks can prevent ID theft if individually we leave data trails across the web that allow fraudsters to construct a personal profile.

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Customer 2.0 : I own my privacy

Have you seen rapleaf ?
or upscoop
oh and there’s quechup as well – which has some of plaxo’s worst habits (which plaxo quickly shed),

It’s Spam 2.0 – the start of the social spam revolution.

I’ve seen conversations on 2 separate professional networks that are apalled by them & the loss of privacy that’s implicit – for example, I now know what’s on one of my client’s Amazon Wish Lists. Which I guess is OK if you actually know somebody… but not OK if you’ve scraped an email address & set out to learn anything you can about a person for who-knows-what purpose.

The only defence is to use separate public & personal email addresses – and even that would be defeated by viral tools in these services’ signup processes.

Oh, and Facebook just announced that it’s opening public profiles to search engines – so expect an outrage in 5-6 weeks time. And then folk will adjust and go back to their lives, on & offline.

But the cumulative effect will be for the ‘signal to noise’ ratio to drop – the proportion of genuine messages will reduce, amongst an increase of social spam.

All these rape our privacy.

Expect to see more folk using closed communities (like Phuser ), and the ‘private’ options on Facebook et al. Bit by bit we’ll learn to take control of our own privacy, and take responsibility for our privacy.

That’s the service that Rapleaf offer: to protect & control your privacy. I’m in two minds as to whether they’ll profit from exposing the problem (which they didn’t create…) Or if they’ll be a victim of their own success at exposing a genuine social problem.