On Monday, April 3rd, President Trump signed into law a resolution that repealed protections requiring Internet service providers like AT&T, Spectrum Communications (Charter), Sprint and XO Communications (Verizon) to get your permission before collecting and selling your data like web browsing history. These protections, which had not yet gone into effect, were approved by the Federal Communications Commission in the final days of the Obama administration.
Since this big announcement, angry articles have appeared all over the news & social media – people are outraged. “We’re going to lose our privacy” – “They are going to be able to sell our information to the highest bidder” – “Life as we know it has ended – we will never have the right to data privacy again once this law is in place” and on and on, it seems! Essentially, we’ve gone from an opt-in world to the complete opposite.
According to Trade Group USTelecom CEO Jonathan Spalter, individual “browser history is already being aggregated and sold to advertising networks – by virtually every site you visit on the internet.” It’s been blatantly apparent that companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon, Target and many other websites have been “stalking” our every move gathering our browsing or purchase history for years. Way back in 2009, Google announced that the companies AdSense service would be using user’s browsing patterns to target adverts. Surely, you’ve noticed that after you’ve been shopping on Amazon, an ad will appear the next day on Facebook selling something similar. Now the same privilege has been extended to your internet Service Provider so there is now an equal playing field for ISPs and Non-ISPs.
AT&T Inc, Comcast and XO have subsequently stated that they would NOT sell their customers personal data for profit; however, they will sell aggregated data. In other words, once your name, address, email address and SSN have been removed, your data has become “de-identified” and can then be aggregated with data from other individuals with similar demographics for targeted advertising…..unless you opt out of having your data collected.
A couple of weeks ago, XO’s privacy officer Karen Zacharia said in a blog post that the company has two programs that use customer browsing data. One allows marketers to access “de-identified information to determine which customers fit into groups that advertisers are trying to reach” while the other “provides aggregate insights that might be useful for advertisers and other businesses.”
Let’s not forget about mobile devices. Your cell phone not only gives your whereabouts, but relays all of your browsing data back to the carriers unless you change your privacy settings and even then, there’s no guarantee that your privacy will remain intact. Remember all of those sites you’ve been to recently? Your browsing history knows more about you than any other person!
Before you decide to opt out of Big Data, you should read this article about a woman who conducted her own social experiment and tried to keep the fact that she was pregnant from all websites, social media and ISP’s. She ended up being very unpopular with her family members and looking like she was a criminal, which to say is very interesting commentary on how much things have changed.
Some tips for protecting your privacy:
For those of you who are anxious to retain your data privacy, there are a few options but no services will guarantee 100% privacy. Services like VPN’ss, Tor and HTTPS encrypted websites will prevent ISP’s from grabbing granular data on customers. Not all VPN’s are created equal so do your research.
This gentleman calls himself “That One Privacy Guy” and has made an in-depth study and comparison of VPNs. It’s an interesting read for those of you that are serious about you privacy!
Other Ways to Opt-Out
NAI opt out of consumer based adverting offers some additional protection for both your browser and your mobile device at http://optout.networkadvertising.org/#/
StopDataMining.me is a centralized online portal for data brokers to (1) identify themselves to consumers and describe how they collect and use consumer data and (2) detail the access rights and other choices they provide with respect to the consumer data they maintained advertising.
Background Check Websites collect your personal data – here is a link to removing yourself – not all of these companies will remove you unless you have a very good reason.
Here are some Privacy Policies you may want to read to get a better idea of what’s out there right now. Most policies state that they do not sell your personal information, but may use it for purposes of advertising within their company and their affiliate companies or use it on behalf of non-affiliate advertisers. They also state that you can control which information is collected and you have the option to opt out of receiving promotional data.
I personally think it’s a huge undertaking to opt-out of all of the data repositories, advertising and install VPN’s. Not many people could be bothered or even think it’s an option. Of greatest concern to me, is how to prevent my information from being stolen; identity fraud and cyber-crime continues to rise no matter how hard we work to prevent it.
This is the world we live in…1984, anyone?
Just imagine a world where everything is convenient, works properly, runs on time, no waiting in lines, traffic jams or stop lights. Services delivered when you want them, where you want them and how you want them. No more mundane little nagging things that you need to do or oversee. Efficiently watered landscape & gardens, automatic energy conservation in large buildings and homes, no more air or water pollution and how peaceful would it be to drive on a smart road where traffic just flows along, especially in Los Angeles. We will also be warned of forest fires, earthquakes and instructed where to park when we pull into a parking garage. It will truly be utopia. The world’s problems will be a thing of the past. This is the promise of The Internet of Everything (not to be confused with Internet of Things, which is exactly that, just things, connected to the cloud, without the human intelligence analyzing the data) – now back to the definition of the IoE–“the networked connection of people, process, data, and things — is opening up new opportunities (and risks) that everyone should consider. Today it is estimated that more than 20 billion devices are connected to the internet and by 2020 many sources are predicting there could be a 100 Billion or more. “The Internet of Everything (IoE) is the quiet communication that is happening all the time. Plain and simple, if your device can communicate in any way to the Internet, the Internet will talk back. By 2020, everything from your entire house, your car to your body will be wired to the IoT” -Vazata.com. That’s right, you won’t have to try on clothes or shoes anymore; a body stocking with RFID sensors will take all of your measurements and VOILA you will have bespoke garments (look that one up). Smart sensors in textiles will be able to transmit all kinds of information from one’s health, as we have seen in the 2016 Rio Olympic Women’s Field Hockey team(s), coaches were able to swap out players when they detected signs exhaustion during the event. Currently heart & cancer patients are utilizing this technology for early detection of deteriorating health. Even healthy could benefit from keeping themselves in check and taking action right away if a problem was detected – it could save lives. Imagine creating a car with seats (including infant car seats) that would detect if someone were left in the car and the temperature was rapidly rising or falling. You could be alerted and if you did not attend to the situation in 2-3 minutes the police or 911 would be notified to save the day. It’s estimated that 10+million units of smart clothing will be sold by 2020. Apparently, $235 billion was spent supporting IoT in 2015. By 2020, that will increase to an astounding $1.7 trillion”. –http://www.vazata.com/Blog/five-quick-facts-about-the-internet-of-things-in-the-year-2020#sthash.e3xrvB6y.dpuf/. What does this mean…to me, you & the world at large? It means that we can fix a lot of problems in this world! And it means there is a TON of opportunity in the IoT/IoE space (coming from the salesperson and do-gooder parts of me). Exciting thoughts for all of us. Maybe there is still a chance to save our planet?
“But, it should be noted all the information gathered by each of the sensors in the world isn’t worth very much if there isn’t an infrastructure in place to analyze it in real time. Cloud-based applications are the key to using leveraged data. The Internet of Things doesn’t function without cloud-based applications to interpret and transmit the data coming from all these sensors. The cloud is what enables the apps to go to work for you anytime, anywhere.”- Wired http://.wired.com/The Internet of Things Is Bigger Than Anyone Realizes/
For full details on all of these IoE intelligence from Libelium Sensors, www.libelium.com http://www.libelium.com/resources/top_50_iot_sensor_applications_ranking/
Public-sector leaders need to consider from multiple perspectives: policy leadership, services provision, and regulation.
Every business strives to find the winning formula for success.
Cloud technology has been around long enough for us to realize it’s huge a game changer. It offers a menu of pick and choose managed services, at a very low price point. It’s no longer like the days when co-location facilities offered managed services which were cost prohibitive. Over 90% of businesses today have migrated to the Cloud in some form or another says Andrew Pryfogel, SVP Cloud Transformation @ Intelisys. Cloud Users leverage 6 clouds on average — 3 public and 3 private. It is no longer being used primarily as a development or experimentation platform according to “Cloud Computing Trends: 2016 State of the Cloud Survey.”
Here are some of the key benefits of transitioning systems to the Cloud**
- Reduce CAPEX spending on technology infrastructure
- Achieve greater economies of scale
- Enhance globalization and portability of workforce
- Opportunity to improve security model and practices*
- Minimize software license requirements
- Increase flexibility and reactivity
- Reduce training and learning curves in a full hosted and managed environments**
- Achieve better visibility company-wide
- Streamline business processes
- Have real time access to enhanced technology and business analytics
- Focus IT staff on innovation
Avoid some of the quick sand that others have encountered.
While some believe that migrating to the cloud is a simple task, a solid strategy can save a company significant unforeseen migration costs and/or failures! With high hopes for reducing CAPEX spending and TCO (total cost of ownership), it’s no secret that a number of companies have landed themselves in hot water and have paid a hefty price for insufficient planning. Here are some of the areas to focus on……
Not all applications are good candidates for cloud computing.
Legacy applications generally have dependencies that are not trivial and would require costly and complex reworking. Lab testing is a sure way of establishing the viability of the performance you can expect from an application migration. There is an abundance of load testing application tools available to you and many third party tools for measuring TCO. If you can’t prove a positive ROI in advance, these applications probably should not be migrated. Applications that can take advantage of auto scaling (bursty applications) often reap the most benefit from utilizing cloud resources. Like many companies out there, your business may be seasonal or tied into various ad campaigns, requiring seamless, economical scaling capabilities to support these business directives. The Cloud is a great fit for unpredictable traffic. No matter how well you plan for traffic spikes, we have all seen popular sites come to a halt due to insufficient scaling capability and often recovery takes too long, negatively impacting your reputation as a dependable business entity. With the cloud you only pay for what you use, so these types of applications are ideal. Virtualization of applications and workloads can certainly ease cloud migrations significantly.
Using a single cloud to provide all your company’s needs will probably result in disappointment. Most companies are partnered with multiple Cloud providers in order meet their business goals. Multi-cloud management and integration challenges are an important part of the architecture planning and viability. Networks may need to be redesigned and security concerns have to be addressed. Licensing costs must also be considered in the equation. These hurdles are by no means insurmountable, but can negatively impact your TCO. Some companies choose to use different cloud providers for data replication or Disaster Recovery scenarios. Others may have compliance or governance directives that need to be met. The best governance is when business units work hand in hand with IT to ensure all needs and SLA’s are met. Understanding business issues such as regulatory compliance is part of duties of the governance team.
Integrating different cloud services is one of the biggest challenges your IT staff may face.
Additional training of IT and development staff may be critical to the success of your implementation. Understanding the training needs of your workforce is also important so that your team is well equipped to take full advantage of all the Cloud has to offer. This is a good opportunity to introduce cloud computing standards and to look for opportunities to streamline and automate processes, freeing up resources to focus on innovative strategies. Cloud analytics can provide your team with the real time BI (business intelligence) so that you can accelerate and improve decision making, and easily focus on driving revenues up.
It is also important to you consider your back out strategy in your planning, just in case you need to leave a specific Cloud provider suddenly. Perhaps your provider has failed to meet their SLA, or the pricing model no longer serves you – there could be a number of reasons. Be prepared and ensure your data is replicated outside of your cloud practice.
So as a technology or business leader, the time to migrate is NOW! After all, customer satisfaction is the real source of ROI.
*The CSA (Cloud Security Alliance) has published guidelines to secure systems in the cloud.
**Intelisys SVP Cloud Transformation- Andrew Pryfogel
My fascination for technology began in the late seventies when programmers were punching cards that went into computers that took up entire office floors. My mother worked for the government at the time and brought home stacks of used punch cards which we used to make Christmas wreaths. We were in awe when the first home computers were released and we could use programs like Lotus and WordPro and play games like Pacman.
The 90’s laid the foundation for the beginning of the information age, which saw the entire world growing closer together with the adoption of the internet. We now had “Global Communications” on this massive and infinite information highway called the World Wide Web. The internet brought us AOL, Yahoo, Google and VoIP to name a few of the inovations. You could shop nude ! Cell phones and Blackberries made our lives so much easier. With the rise of .coms, eCommerce took off and co-location facilities popped up everywhere, offering hosting and managed services. Some people made a lot of money with IPO’s until the bubble burst at the turn of the century. It was madness ! We all held our breath waiting to see if the world would collapse with Y2K. It was, in fact the biggest anti-climax that I can remember in the history of technology. Billions of dollars were poured into ensuring that nothing would go wrong, and I guess we must have done a really good job. Or maybe it a money making scheme for the Y2K remediation companies that we hired to scare us to death LOL !
As technology development escalated in the early 2000’s we saw the beginnings of Social Media Platforms. Personally I had no interest at the time in MySpace and had no idea that by 2010 Facebook would have taken over the lives of many. It’s a love hate relationship for me. Social media should be called “the antisocial media”. We also had a huge surge in the gaming world with Nintendo Wii, released in 2006. And now we have people getting hit by cars chasing Pokemon, another great Nintendo/Google/Niantic invention !
This era also brought us text messaging, iPhones, the USB drive, Windows XP, more Social Media, TiVo, iPod, WiFi and YouTube and online dating. No longer do we have huge costs to further our education as we can all attend YouTube Universtity for free. We can all be our own WebMD’s and self-diagnose our medical issues and those of our friends and pets. Businesses migrated from regular voice circuits to data circuits with VoIP and MPLS and of course video conferencing. This enabled us to grow collaboration technologies and we stopped jumping on planes every day for meetings, impacting the Deltas of this world. Social media advertising mushroomed and became the new improved marketing platform. And then came “The Cloud”. As if by this time we didn’t have enough security concerns and breeches on a daily basis. So security firms became the new hot ticket, as companies, governments, and organization were being sued and embarrassed and criticized due to data breeches.
Big Brother – realized. In 2013, Edward Snowden revealed to us the extent of the NSI surveillance programs. My Google and Yahoo accounts were no longer private ! Paranoia ensued and data privacy became a huge concern and then things got really exciting. With endless amounts of data available to both companies and individuals through our smart phones and the endlessly scalable cloud computing advantages, we had no choice but to keep inventing new technologies to deal with that which we have created! Which leads us to Artificial Intelligence, Intelligent Automation and the IoT (Internet of Things) and of course the impact of this on businesses, the workforce (us) and our personal lives. I call this “the technology disruption”.
Stay tuned for my next chapters, exploring the reinvention of companies and individuals and how technology will save our planet. I need to fully disclose, this article was ghost written by my newly released, highly artificially intelligent robot slave…(you may remember her from the Jetson’s) Rosy v3.0.
In an age when effective communications is a major key to business success, unified communications (UC) tools are taking those benefits to the next level. UC tools allow companies and employees to collaborate with clients and colleagues anywhere, using various devices and incorporating advanced services.
While a move to UC tools seems like an easy decision, there are costs to consider prior to deployment. The actual cash cost of purchasing hardware, software, and systems to facilitate UC is obvious. But there are other costs that are not as obvious or easy to spot during the deployment process.
Following are several examples of unexpected costs that might come up during a UC deployment or after a system has been implemented.
Today’s business environment is increasingly mobile and less likely to be contained within the four walls of a physical office. Installing UC in an office environment where the endpoints are known and fixed is relatively simple. When remote or home-based employees are added to the equation, there may be increased costs associated with optimizing remote equipment to support collaboration.
In addition, employees are increasingly using their personal devices to conduct business in the office and in the field. Bring your own device (BYOD) situations can add to the number of endpoints that require UC tools and support, which can add complexity to a deployment and increase costs beyond expectations.
UC tools bring a variety of cutting-edge services and capabilities that may be useless if the underlying network and infrastructure can’t support them. For example, many UC deployments focus on adding video capabilities that enhance collaboration. But videos require screens that can take up unanticipated space and demand bandwidth that may have to be reallocated.
Network management tools are typically needed to prioritize resources. UC tools have also caused an explosion in demand for storage and archiving resources, as companies often want to record UC sessions.
In some cases, the potential hidden costs associated with network upgrades and increased storage demands will prompt a company to explore the option of using a cloud-based service model for UC. This type of service model has its own set of costs to consider.
There is hidden value in analyzing employee usage of UC tools to bolster productivity, but many companies fall short of capitalizing on these analytics benefits. Investment is needed in deploying the right analytics tools for those who can take the sometimes overwhelming volume of data and turn it into useful, actionable information.
Protecting the company network and assets from cyber attacks keeps IT administrators up at night. The introduction of any new hardware, software, or tool to a network opens up new entry points for viruses and malware.
Home-based and remote employees often use public Internet, Wi-Fi, and mobile devices to access company networks. UC sessions also frequently extend to third party networks outside the company’s control. Many UC sessions involve Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, which is considered vulnerable to cyber threats.
These vulnerabilities create costs, not only in the actual cost to fight cyber threats, but also those associated with potential data loss and system downtime that could occur with a cyber attack.
Balancing the Budget
UC tools generate actual and often unforeseen benefits, but come with the potential for unanticipated hard and soft costs. Understanding these potential hidden costs is key to absorbing them with minimal interruption to business process and less stress for IT departments. Contact Worldnet to learn how to avoid hidden UC costs.