Archive for the ‘THE DIGITAL AGE’ Category

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THE LAST STRAW

January 11, 2014

The continuing-to-unfold story of the Target data breach this morning quoted a consumer as saying…”This is the Last Straw”.

Really?  Come on, folks.  This is not the END; this is the beginning or at least I hope so!  Yes, I hope this is the beginning of the real understanding of the Digital World.

We’ve heard for months about Snowden and the NSA.  Most feel they do not want the government to even have phone numbers that could be eventually tracked to you – whether or not it is associated with a name when it is gathered.

And yet, until you hear of a breach, you have no problem with corporate America’s invasive disruption of your life 24 hours a day for all the information they gather on you.  For instance, this is the fourth day in a row that I have received an e-mail or popup ad on Facebook from a vendor – all because I checked the cost of ordering a new supply of contact lens solution on Amazon.com.  That information was harvested, sent to interested parties, and is now driving me crazy!

My office is filled with articles and books discussing the Digital Age that is upon us…Yup; it does a lot of good.  Yup, it has some significant downfalls.  Yup, we just want to ignore the implications…until we get an unauthorized charge on our credit card at Target – and then we make Target the culprit – not the system itself!

And, most interesting, there have also been comments this week suggesting that the government needs to do a better job regulating and protecting us from this.  So now, in addition to trying to keep us from harm from terrorists and other governments, the US government should do a better job of monitoring what every corporation and hacker in the US is doing?  But, of course, please do it without getting OUR phone number in that gigantic data base!  Do you really think this makes sense?   

This time, it’s Target and it’s based in Minnesota so we are hearing a LOT more about it because it impacts us in more than just the data breach.  Target is going the “extra mile” in my book, to be the “good neighbor” as they search for the full story on the consequences.  Financially, those impacted will have “zero liability” from damage plus Target has offered free credit monitoring and identity theft protection for customers for a year. It will be expensive to meet those promises, but at least outwardly, they have accepted the responsibility for something not caused by them. Because the truth is, if NSA can be breached by a disgruntled egotistical citizen, do you really believe that corporations can ENSURE that they will have no breaches in their systems?   

So from my perspective at least, I welcome the Target breach so close on the heels of the NSA crisis  – hoping that the two together will be enough to finally start a real conversation!

  • How do we as The World move forward in the Digital Age?
  • How many of our old 20th century expectations will be necessarily compromised to move forward?
  • Where’s the acceptable balance?  Where are the tradeoffs?

Then once we recognize and understand the new realities of the Digital World, perhaps we can have a meaningful discussion about what that means in government, in commerce, in personal lives. Where is the balance between convenience and protection; what is needed to achieve that balance.

  • We knew this was coming in the 1990s; we created a fear of Y2K that never happened and then we forgot about it. 
  • We knew this was upon us in the 2000s and we were too busy fighting 19th and 20th century-based wars to do anything about it…except to create the NSA.
  • We have not addressed it so far in the 2010s. But we certainly are wrapped in the impacts!

Only when we accept both the possibilities and problems of the Digital Age that are upon us will we understand there is work to be done.  We have to clear the way for the conversations, collaboration, and creative thinking/design that we need to participate in the future.

It is time, folks.  Let’s make 2014 the year America finally quits pointing fingers and realizes there is work to be done.  We have a whole new way of life before us and we need to adjust our old world thinking to accommodate it.  It’s time to move forward NOW before we destroy ourselves and our planet.

 

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