Monthly Archives: January 2018

Ordinary Earthlings

# earth 2 moon tech

Imagine, you’re an earthling and you’re extraordinary.

I’m not sure, but I think that today’s conversation has to be about complacency.  Because there’s so much that we’re not doing, and we keep making excuses for why we’re not doing anything.

I’m reminded of my younger days, when I carried picket signs and stood up against all that was wrong with the world. From boycotting manufacturers that polluted rivers to oil refineries that supported apartheid, we stood in solidarity.

My activism was full of energy, fueled with a passion to improve life. I held hands, prepared care packages and sang songs for those who couldn’t sing.  Society seemed simple and factored neatly into the human process that is, to make life better for everyone.

Television mirrored society’s progress, from Father Knows Best to keeping it All In The Family.   There was a learning curve, and we had heated discussions by the water cooler.  We exchanged ideas, tried to see the other person’s point of view and were equally appalled by our shortcomings.  When Sammy Davis Jr. kissed Archie Bunker, we collectively gasped, then laughed.  We women cheered when Edith empowered by menopause was no longer stifled and screamed “No!” at her husband.

Lately, I’ve revisited those memories.  Because like you, I’ve been tip-toeing around in my dainty lady shoes, because I’m older and like it when the house is quiet.  But really, I do want to shove my feet into a pair of work boots and to go stomping about!

So much has gone awry and we’ve remained quiet. Watching as reputable news sources were attacked and turning the volume way down when what was being said wasn’t to our liking.  We even muted the voices of the victims and as such, emboldened the perpetrators.

Meanwhile the planet kept turning and our technology grew by algorithms into big data, self-sustaining, machine to machine, deep learning. And as quiet as it’s kept, that’s really a good thing, because so few of us know how any of this works. Leaving a talented few to be wooed by Fortune 500 companies.  As people discover that they’re unemployable and become “The Untalented” too many, a reminder that efficient technology doesn’t care.

It’s fall out from our complacency,  when we stopped trying to do good things and let bad things slip through.   We see it in the cost of a college education that has sky-rocketed, and public schools with mandates that teach kids for a test rather than a relevant skill for entering the job market.

And it happened on our watch, when we stopped protesting to ensure a future that included a place for all of us.  When we became complacent, we stopped being awesome.

Today, the untalented interact mindlessly with technology, hours spent on social media and on virtual reality that impedes their understanding of technology and it’s impact on future generations.

Technology is self-sustaining, self-replicating, self-repairing and has a passion for deep learning.  It’s a work horse, that will do well to protect us from us, when we get hacked.  Hopefully keeping us safe in its If Then/Than This loop, as we realize it was never an ultimatum or a failsafe.

The good news is that I woke up this morning, breathing.  I crawled out of bed and that’s a beginning, then I thought about you, and that maybe you too woke up…

“Imagine, you’re an earthling & that you’re extraordinary & then, quick do something extraordinary!”

 

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Technology’s Invitation Protect Your Data

cloud circuit

“Big Data”  Like its cousin, “The Internet of Things” was given a lame name.  Either the scientists who worked on the technology were being lazy, didn’t have an iota of creativity, or they just named it with a footnote, so they could get back to whatever else they were doing!  However big data, like the air we breathe, has become part of our human story.

Recently my daughter confessed that she just clicks and agrees to a website’s User Privacy and Terms of Agreement without reading it. She claims she doesn’t have time or didn’t want to read all the legal jargon.  Her generation does a lot of mindlessly clicking and willingly sharing their personal data, it’s almost a cultural.  And companies know this, it’s one way they’ve been able to amass such a large amount of data.

Just willy-nilly clicking “Yes” to get the latest app or to log onto a hot website. The alternative is to knowingly deny ourselves of technology that we want, like Tinder and Pokémon Go.

But as a parent, it distresses me.  I’m the by-product of the cold war, having lived through the espionage age, I’m cautious and leery by design.  Truth is, I read George Orwell’s 1984 and dystopias frighten me.

Big Data presents a picture from datasets to data points, and for good or evil, the picture grows as we go along.  It’s continually gathered, collected and processed.  And the enterprises that collect, store and process our personal data have become treasure troves, susceptible to breach and targeted by hackers on the dark internet.

I was trying to understand why we don’t do a better job of protecting our data.  Maybe in an over populated world, we humans are lonely.  That would partially account for why so many of us open unsolicited emails that simple say “Hi Friend”.

Maybe its need and not greed that motivates us.  What if being desperate has that affect?

The truth of the matter is, not all data can be protected.   But in three months, we’ll see  how companies do business handling personal data in the European market, when the European Union’s GPDR goes into effect. There are hurdles for sure, but as Cloud technology continues to advance and processing data at blazing speeds is the new norm, we’ll have to do better.

It seems to me, if changing our passwords on a monthly basis helps, why wouldn’t we?  Just asking…  Technology invites us to protect ourselves.

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Filed under Apps, Big Data, Privacy, technology

~Personal Data~ Come What May 25, 2018

Tech Total Solar Eclispe

Preparedness, isn’t that the other reason for a good night’s rest?

On May 25, 2018, we’ll Wake Up to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which will forever change how enterprises collect, gather, store and process personal data.

And while those on this side of the Great Pond might think it’ll be business as usual, they’d be well advised to become aware and acknowledge that during these days of digital transformation, the world has grown smaller. That is, what happens over there will have an impact over here.

We need to be mindful that even if we’re physically over here, we might not be immune to upcoming changes in the EU, that the global market isn’t limited to consumers, but also includes those that might be our business partners, employees or independent contractors, from whom we’ve collected personal data.

Hybrid Cloud technology, and sharing software have allowed small businesses to transform in such a big way, that even the less tech savvy have collected and stored personal data.  It’s imperative that we’re aware of the responsibility, and we’re in line with new regulations.

Right now might be a good time to check that our Vendors are also data compliant and that we’re familiar with the handling of personal data, because as quiet as it’s kept those policies might be legislated here, as hefty penalties might roll down hill.

So, maybe it’s okay that only a few are concerned with the GPDR, after all we’re thousands of miles away… but in a digital world, can we afford to ignore the ramifications?

We are also citizens, who have willingly shared a tremendous amount of personal data.   We’ve played games and used Apps for free, not giving a second thought to our millions of finger swipes that have been used to collect data and then used as payment, in this our virtual and augmented reality.

Come May, all that will change.  In addition obtaining consent, businesses will be required to have proper encryption for assured security, those businesses who store personal data to fulfill the purpose for which the data was collected will also have to:

  • Audit on regular, documented basis.
  • Incorporate technical measures to protect personal data from unauthorized access
  • Antivirus software that provides both email & browser protection.
  • Firewall
  • Regular Automatic Back Up of personal data
  • Enterprise Wi-Fi network password protected
  • Remote access is only possible via Virtual Private Network (VPN)
  • Privileged accounts only from dedicated devices & with limited access
  • Data leakage prevention software to protect sensitive personal data
  • Procedure for monitoring, detecting, analyzing & reporting security incidents developed and communicated within the enterprise.
  • Prevention of automated decision making & profiling
  • Data portability protection
  • The right to have their personal data erased, i.e., “the right to be forgotten”.
  • The right to ensure inaccuracies in personal data are corrected
  • A general description of technology and organizational security measures, as part of records data of processing activities. Regular updating.
  • Procedures and processes set up in case of data breach.
  • Privacy by design principles in place for new processes or products that are being employed.

 

Yes, it’s a great big world out there that has somehow become incredibly small. Come what may, shouldn’t we be prepared?

http://www.computerweekly.com   https://ukcloud.com/

 

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Filed under cyber-security, GPDR, technology, Uncategorized

AARP the Greatest Big Data

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Is it just me, or have 76.4 million other Baby Boomers, noticed the dismal failure of  AARP?

Once taunted as a Silver Tsunami, we Baby Boomers were to be a force to be reckoned with! And AARP was first to identify our numbers. I started to receive the mass mailing four years before my 50th birthday!   I was so annoyed, as it was a stark reminder that I had reached the half century benchmark.

And then, I started to think of myself as being special, being included sometimes has that affect.  And AARP mailings were upbeat and exciting.  Being fifty had it’s perks and one of them was being one of 76.4 million Baby Boomers that were invited to join an elite membership!

Now eight years later, here I am feeling mostly left out. The strength in our numbers, as more than a consumer are disappointing and on a political scale, non-existing.  It’s as though our potential which once sizzled, has fizzled and faded out.

AARP, the united front of teachers which evolved into a productive aging machine, was consciously aware of health insurance, but shied away from starting it’s own insurance.  It was a community based organization that wouldn’t enter the political arena and didn’t count its membership, as a voting bloc.

And AARP’s membership swelled.  But instead of becoming a supplier of information pertinent to its membership, a powerful knowledge dispensary like Google, AARP became a supplier/distributor of stale information targeted to old Americans.  It’s branding was marketed to an organic audience, to which they teased, “You don’t know AARP”.

Famous Baby Boomers became AARP spokespeople with no qualifications, or passion other than they, like all the rest of us had just aged and gotten old.  Apparently aging is an equal opportunist.

Whoopie Goldberg, the Baby Boomer comedian and Tom Hanks, the beloved actor who successfully portrayed real life Baby Boomer heroes, like Captain Sully who landed a commercial airplane on the Hudson River.

I was invited to participate in Boomer Technology in Boston, where I was allowed to interview AARP workers.  At one convention I wrote about an AARP initiative, computer classes for older Americans across America being led by young people, these they cleverly called AARP-TEK.

Ironically, everyone seemed prophetically aware of the impact of technology on an aging population.  But there was no urgency or sense of purposefulness, it was as if AARP could out-smart the smart technology by simply co-existing and entering the workplace.

We were the original pioneers of the World Wide Web; we lauded technology and intentionally installed cable into our homes, like some Orwellian Big Brother interior designer.  We welcomed that first fertile layer of smart technology and watched it as it grew.  It’s important to note, that back then we had a choice, both in policy and legislation and we understood the importance of Net Neutrality.

The doctrine “To serve and not be served” makes us complacent and passive aggressive.  Our vast numbers scream democracy, but we whisper in our collective activism, with all the vulnerabilities of an aging population.  We are faced with much more than just being prey to the usual scam artists.  As government supplements are snatched away and replaced with crumbs.

New technology is being developed so fast, just as we are slowing down.  Just as we are faced with our own moments of dementia, we’re being exposed to sophisticated hacks by cyber criminals.

It’s hard to look back and not see where we didn’t make a difference, but that’s the thing about growing old… One realizes too late, that youth is wasted on the young.  We think of our job as being done, when in fact it’s just transforming.  I remember analog technology’s metamorphosis into digital technology, but barely recognize old friends.

But there are success stories; many of my friends now walk around on titanium knees. We laugh and joke, as if they can run faster.  That’s the result of an active imagination that watched a lot of television.  It’s left a strong impression on us and we believe, if the Bionic Man and Bionic Woman could do it, then “Hell Yeah” we could do it too!

Thanks to technology, our expectations have grown. We’re living longer, with chronic illnesses that once killed humans.  It’s a clear indication that we’re pioneers of aging in a digital era and that we’re not our grandparents at this age.

Recently I’ve been thinking how the greatest ideas sometimes remain dormant.   That without fuel or a guidance system, those ideas aren’t engaging and don’t take hold.  It’s then that we aren’t trying to improve life.  Which seems such a waste of time, why else are we alive if we aren’t meant to make life better?

And so that’s what technology is for.  It is meant to make us the great contenders and doers, starting small businesses with which to cater to “US”.

History shows us how life might’ve been, with hindsight we glimpse the benefits of knowledge coupled with imagination.  How an invention can become much improved when creativity is allowed to flourish.  It’s then that the invention is given that “Wallah!” moment.

China invented Gunpowder (sulfur, charcoal and potassium nitrate) and for 400 years used it as a propellant for firework displays.  And then along came innovation, coupled with creativity that transformed how gunpowder was used, it became a powder keg that changed the world, or so we think…

I can’t be certain, but it seems that AARP missed an opportunity as well.

When an organization fails to gather and collect data in a cohesive way; when it doesn’t or won’t see further along than the tip of its nose; won’t or can’t make datasets or gather intelligence and other health information, or use financial graphs to determine best use practices, when an organization that starts out gathering so many people in a collective membership can think of little more than to sell its members on the benefits of Cellular One- Smartphones, with easy read displays and extra large numbers… the question we should ask is:  “What if AARP did something great, really great?”

Our numbers are that great; as great as our expectations once were.  We, Baby Boomers, the original pioneers of the internet are a treasure trove of Big Data.

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Filed under AARP, Baby boomers, Big Data, Creativity, cyber-security, Uncategorized