This morning it was announced that Google and other companies bypassed the privacy settings of iPhone users and computers using Apple’s Safari browser. After the discovery, Google, which has been reprimanded both here and abroad for violating privacy guidelines and policies, removed language from its site indicating Safari users could trust the Safari's privacy settings to prevent tracking. In a separate story, Twitter acknowledged that it had copied the entire address books from both iPhones and Android smartphones. The question is, does this matter?
An ex-colleague found my interest in online privacy quaint or antiquated. He stated that he had given up his online privacy years ago and, in fact, for users of social media sites, only 28 percent have an expectation of privacy. I, too, have given up more information than I like just in writing this blog. I have to register at all kinds of sites to gain access to research in order to present supporting statistics. Consequently, I usually receive an undesired burst of junk mail and unsolicited information after every new site registration. In fact, some 76 percent of adults believe that their online data is distributed too widely. However, I still maintain a belief in a “reasonable expectation of privacy."
Charles Katz was using a telephone booth in 1967 to communicate illegal gambling bets from Los Angeles to other cities. However, the FBI had attached a listening device to the booth and recorded his conversations. Using that information, Katz was convicted, but his lawyers appealed. Ultimately, the case reached the Supreme Court where Katz prevailed 7-1. The argument was since it was a “private conversation in a public place," a search warrant was required, thus leading to case law in support of a “reasonable expectation of privacy."
It seems as though we face a growing need to develop laws to protect us from the actions of companies that can secretly or knowingly use our private information for either research or commercial exploitation. It is clear that self-monitoring to comply with publicly stated policies is not effective. This is a threat to individuals and also to the commercial interests of cloud computing.
A survey found that 70 percent of businesses expect their data to be kept private and secure when using cloud-computing services. This is important for hosted service providers such as Broadvox. Business customers must believe we will honor our policies and contractual agreements to protect and avoid the misuse of their data. Eighty percent of users of cloud-computing services have expressed a growing concern over data security and privacy. Whereas most conference and industry panels concentrate security discussions on the strength of firewalls, encryption and access management, the greatest risk of a security breach is from within the service-provider infrastructure. Therefore, it is very important that the service provider become a trusted entity with the proper development and execution of internal security and privacy practices.
Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and other cloud-computing applications must deliver what is expected, going beyond what may be considered reasonable.
David Byrd is vice president of marketing and sales for Broadvox , and is responsible for marketing and channel sales programs to SMBs, enterprises and carriers as well as defining the product offering. Prior to joining Broadvox, David was the vice president of Channels and Alliances for Eftia and Telcordia. As director of eBusiness Development with i2 Technologies, he developed major partnerships with many of the leaders in Internet eCommerce and supply chain management. As CEO of Planet Hollywood Online he was a pioneer in using early Internet technologies to build a branded entertainment and eCommerce website company partnered with Planet Hollywood. Having over 20 years of telecom sales and marketing experience, he has held executive positions with Hewlett-Packard, Sprint and Ericsson.