Posts Tagged ‘privacy’

Dialing back Electronic Privacy Expectations

November 16th, 2010

As smartphones continue to replicate or replace other daily means and devices, it’s only natural that the base technology will expand even further into individual users’ routines.  The big news of the moment is the collaboration between Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile to bring consumer payment services to mobile phones.  Dubbed “Isis,” the project will have the three companies integrate near-field technology and piggyback on Discover’s financial network – thus crossing swords with the other major credit card companies.

We all love convenience, and one less piece of plastic in our wallets is great and all, except… what does this mean for digital privacy in the new pay-to-play age?  And, what are the members of Isis doing to communicate their expectations and positions on this very topic?

Even if we’re wowed by the ability to pay for goodies with our phones, Congress will likely want to learn more at a looming lame-duck hearing on technology and telecommunications privacy issues.  Here are questions that will probably be asked at that hearing:

What security measures are in place to protect consumer credit information? (The flip-side of this coin is that the credit card companies have decades of experience and knowledge on this front.  If they wanted, they could easily run a PR campaign to show how far ahead they are and counter the Isis business objectives.)

What will the default settings be on phones for consumers, will they have to opt-out of the service?

Will phone companies now make such a payment service a mandatory part of all phone service plans?  In other words, will the payment service be bundled with all cell phone plans?

How will payment information and customer profiles, purchases, etc. be shared?  Will that information be sold to marketers and retailers for use in targeted advertising?

This is just the tip of the iceberg – the policy implications are dizzying, as is the future of electronic consumer transactions.  When so much is on the line, it behooves the corporate players to be very transparent and smart in their communications and media efforts.

MySpace Misses Huge PR Opportunity During the Facebook Privacy Disaster

May 21st, 2010

In the wake of Facebook’s current privacy debacle, many online commentators have been urging MySpace to make a bid to attract disaffected Facebook users.  Don’t hold your breath.  The stigma of the MySpace brand – due to its convoluted, screeching user profiles – is such that to grab any market share, the site would need a major jaw-dropping marketing and  PR campaign.  Instead, the site posted a simple, single statement on the issue.

Talk about missed opportunity!  This blog has previously echoed the famous military strategy of Napoleon: “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” But that excellent advice has nothing to with seizing the goldmine of business waiting in front of you – indeed, business that you once had!

The PR tactical considerations are almost endless, and it leaves one to wonder:

Why hasn’t MySpace … done a massive social media blitz to lampoon the privacy problems Facebook has had since its inception?

Why hasn’t MySpace … produced a video showing the ease of its privacy options compared to Facebook, and then push that video to go viral?

Why hasn’t MySpace … engaged tech reporters and key influencers in the privacy debate to educate them about the site’s simple and user-friendly privacy policy?

Why hasn’t MySpace … partnered with critics, academics and business leaders to establish thought leadership and lead a much-needed global discussion on evolving online privacy standards?

Why hasn’t MySpace … mined its existing database of dormant accountholder emails and sent them a nice, friendly note asking them to revisit a “new and improved” site?

Customers don’t just leave one business for another without understanding why the alternative is more attractive.  MySpace apparently is assuming that Facebook users automatically know about the latest version of its offerings.  Big error.