A few weeks ago, I received a wedding invitation--well, more like a wedding notice--from a couple seeking donations for their honeymoon in lieu of gifts. The letter said I'd be receiving the actual invitation in a few days. Never mind what Miss Manners would say--the strange thing was I had no idea who the couple was. I reached into the deep recesses of my brain to try to put the names with faces. I checked high school and college yearbooks. I asked friends and family members. Nothing. It's true I sometimes forget where I've put my keys, but I don't usually forget people--certainly not ones who would invite me to such a special event. It's now clear that someone I don't know got my name (and probably hundreds of others) from an alumni directory or some other list available online and sent the letters. Doubtless they were banking on the fact that some people would be too embarrassed to admit they can't remember a person and would send an obligatory check. While there was no loss to me--I didn't send any money--I feel as though my privacy was invaded.
Just last week, I got one of those annoying E-mails from a firm hawking Internet spying services. For a fee, it claimed to provide names and addresses by matching license-plate numbers, unlisted phone numbers, criminal records, and more. Much of this information is probably drawn from public databases, but what this provider claims to offer goes beyond a respect for privacy. For example, it will find "dirty secrets" (whatever that means) about your neighbors.
When it comes to privacy, it's often a question of balance. On one hand, the more companies know about their customers, the better they can serve them. I like that my bank knows me well enough to make investment suggestions, that a particular online toy site reminds me of important birthdays and suggests age-appropriate gifts, that old friends can look me up in an alumni directory. I choose to give these businesses certain data, and, while my level of control is admittedly limited, I've got to trust them to use it appropriately.
IT's Reputation: What the Data SaysInformationWeek's IT Perception Survey seeks to quantify how IT thinks it's doing versus how the business really views IT's performance in delivering services - and, more important, powering innovation. Our results suggest IT leaders should worry less about whether they're getting enough resources and more about the relationships they have with business unit peers.
What The Business Really Thinks Of IT: 3 Hard TruthsThey say perception is reality. If so, many in-house IT departments have reason to worry. InformationWeek's IT Perception Survey seeks to quantify how IT thinks it's doing versus how the business views IT's performance in delivering services - and, more important, powering innovation. The news isn't great.
InformationWeek Must Reads Oct. 21, 2014InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of digital strategy. Learn why you should learn to embrace DevOps, how to avoid roadblocks for digital projects, what the five steps to API management are, and more.