Category Archives: Privacy

Virtually, You Are Here

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If you are reading these words, then you are, by default here.
An effective writer can do that, through the clever use of words, similes and metaphors. By carefully stacking letters like blocks of code, until BLAM! You are here.

Reading creates a state of mind, without circuitry, or silicon, or bits and bytes of data organically designed. Like technology, it fulfills a purpose, sharing and entertaining passages that tell a story and “Once upon a time” is the crossing line, the threshold. But sometimes the reading material doesn’t begin like a fairytale.
Sometimes, it’s boring and repetitious and in our rush forward to all the great apps that the digital world has to offer, we hastily finger swipe our touchscreen and assume, the wording to be correct. Because we’ve become familiar to and insensitive to legal verbiage, the Terms of Use:

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING TERMS CAREFULLY. BY CLICKING “SIGN UP” ON THE SITE OR BY DOWNLOADING, INSTALLING OR OTHERWISE ACCESSING OR USING THE APP(S) OR THE SERVICE, yaddah, yaddah, yaddah…
For the next six or seven paragraphs, the font will grow smaller and pretty much, it will read like all the other Terms of Use, and all written with capital letters—the equivalency of screaming in a hell and damnation kind of way– we’re “BOUND BY THE FOLLOWING TERMS, INCLUDING THE PRIVACY POLICY.
And this, the usage of terms like Privacy Policy seems benign, and so it might be when used with apps; but there’s another side with far-reaching consequences, like the information stored on our things, like cellphones, tablets and soon to be Internet of Things (IoT).

There’s value to the human signature and a quiet elegance to being able to write in cursive. It’s not an art form, it’s a skillset.

Some of the world’s greatest documents, The Magna Carter, The Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, each a signed manifesto are reminders of the human condition, and hopefulness, as we press on.

There’s no lasting image to a swipe of the finger, it just can’t compare to the swirling ink of a pen. It’s little things like signatures that we need to hold onto. Especially as we enter the Internet of Things (IoT). When machines talk to machines (m2m) and massive amounts of data are transmitted and analyzed in real time. We may need the simple things to remain simple, like ink and it’s staying power.

By then, privacy may no longer be sustainable. Or attainable, as profitable markets shift, change and the economy adapts. What happens then? Will it matter?

The world is smaller than it was, thankfully we have social media. And in a virtual world, it brings us together. You are here.

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Filed under Big Data, facebook, Google, GPS, Internet, Marketability, Privacy, profitability, social media, tech, technology, Twitter

Big Data Uses Syntax for Storytelling

Big Data Revere 1Big data is coming! Big Data is coming!” Where’s our Paul Revere? Who’s galloping down our asphalt streets shouting the warning?

There should be some announcement on television. The network media should make use of their cherished Emergency Broadcast signal and bleep us to attention, so we might know: Big Data is coming!

We need to know and understand that we can’t control Big Data; that our success will be to accept the fact that we can’t protect all the data. Collaboration is the key; the sharing of information so that it won’t be so overwhelming. This will be the period of adjustment, so our minds can get around it and adopt the technology.

It’s been said that American society is wobbling, it wasn’t just Big Data that set this in motion, but it’s the Age of Technology. The parity, its impact, its failings and its successes; all the little bits that go into life and how we live ought to know that society is wobbling towards change. That’s what happens with big footsteps, things get shaken up and come loose and change.

I believe that it’s going to be good. Because that’s human nature, our survival instinct and it allows us the luxury of hopefulness. So, my feelings of excitement far outweigh any misgivings I might have. I know three things: A) Big Data is so vast that it can’t possibly be protected. B) Not all of it needs to be protected. C) Privacy is malleable; particularly the little guy’s privacy. That is mine, but I can live with this truth.

In 1995, when my daughters were little, I told them stories about dinosaurs. We went to the Metropolitan Museum in New York City and stood beside the massive bones. And they saw how big the dinosaurs were and how infinitesimal we humans were compared to them.

In that humbling experience, we were all a little grateful that they were no longer around. We read stories of how they became extinct and how mankind could never have co-existed with them. A story that was awe-inspiring and entertainingly depicted in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park movies. But the take away was the legacy that the dinosaurs left behind, fossil fuel. Without which there would have been no Industrial Age and our present, Technology Age.

And that’s the point, that as Big Data uses syntaxes and processors get cheaper and cheaper, it’s going to get much bigger. And we humans will stand alongside and look up at, as if it were an old relic. All of our information gathered and stored. Biometrics like face recognition, iris and finger print identification, processed so that it mimics us and appears that machines are running things.

A storytale for the ages and it’s exciting!

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Filed under Baby boomers, Big Data, Consumers, Internet, Privacy, social media, Syntax, technology

Culture and Big Data

J Edgar Big DataIn a digital world the big bad wolf isn’t hairy, doesn’t have claws, and doesn’t have fangs. The big bad wolf in the Digital Age, is us- ourselves.

Big data is about us. The collection, storing and coding of what we do, how we do it and a compression of why we do it, with a projection of what we might do as a reference point. If properly analyzed it can be quite enterprising; but Big Data all lumped and clumped together can be quite daunting. Still it’s there, all there, albeit on a Cloud and soon to be added, our medical folders. All of that information… POOF!

American culture has always liked information. President Roosevelt’s New Deal added value, with its issuance of a social security numbers. J.Edgar Hoover, who served under 6 U.S. Presidents (March 23, 1935 – May 2, 1972) mastered in the collection of information and data. And we Baby Boomers were born into it, so we recall applying and receiving those little bluish cards in the mail.

The card came in a #10 business size envelope with your whole government name typed out. It signaled to your parents, indeed to the whole world, that you were “somebody”. And that you could officially be hired to get a real job, something more than a newspaper route!

America’s social security system was a step towards tax collection with the fringe benefit of tracking and collecting information; a little piece at a time, bit by bit.

My social security number has followed me since I was sixteen years old. It came with me as I changed addresses from state to state, changed schools and when I went to college in Minnesota. It stayed with me when I was hired at the 3M World Center and again, when I purchased my first round trip airplane ticket to New Orleans.

When President Reagan fired the U.S. Air Traffic Controllers, I applied for and took the Civil Service Exam, a youthful scab. And again, when I went to work at the country’s leading University in Cambridge, MA.

Come to think of it, before I was issued a passport, I used my social security number for vacations. I used it to travel to Mexico, Canada and the Bahamas, all multiple times. In fact, on one visit to the Bahamas, the authorities detained me and accused me of not being an American citizen. Then my social security number was of no consequence; as they decided to give me an exam on American history, that I subsequently failed. Ironically, they released me, because I did fail, citing that anyone who was actually trying to sneak into the U.S. would have studied and passed the test. Go figure.

So my privacy– what I eat, where I’ve been and who I’ve married, my taxes, my income, my loans and how much debt I’ve incurred, is all there, tucked neatly beside my social security number. It also includes any driving infractions, which I have none. Our privacy was compromised a long time ago. Tracking me, my patterns, that is my behavior has been going on a long time.

I suppose, when I was younger privacy didn’t matter to me. Internet terms like Cookies and Breadcrumbs lull me into a false sense of security. Whimsical, as they always are in fairytales like Hansel and Gretel. But I’ve grown up some and I see the world differently. Things that didn’t matter before, matter now. And things that were once left unnoticed; now cause me to look up at the huge responsibility of a Cloud.

To Be continued…

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Filed under AARP, Baby boomers, Internet, Privacy, Twitter, Women