When it comes to a privacy breach, what's the best policy -- contrite or circumspect? Two incidents showcase different approaches.
First, there's Mark Zuckerberg's act of contrition over the mess he made with a new collaboration/advertising feature in his social networking site, Facebook. The feature, called Beacon, shared online activity data among Facebook friends -- more data than users were prepared to accept, apparently, because howls of protest were heard not long after Beacon was introduced. Zuckerberg and crew were forced to retool the feature's opt-out capability. "We simply did a bad job with this release, and I apologize for it," Zuckerberg said in a long blog post on the site that explained the genesis of the Beacon project and what went wrong. "I'm not proud of the way we've handled this situation and I know we can do better," he said.
I couldn't help but compare that with another privacy-related news story this week about TJX, the discount retailer that suffered a massive customer data breach that lasted more than a couple of years and which came to light earlier this year. TJX, which owns TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and other stores, has been fairly circumspect in what it has said about the security problem.
In its first press release on the breach, dated Jan. 17, Ben Cammarata, chairman and acting chief executive officer of TJX Companies, said this: "We are deeply concerned about this event and the difficulties it may cause our customers."
There was a follow-up statement from the company, in the form of a press release on Feb. 21. In it, newly appointed president and CEO Carol Meyrowitz commented, "Let me begin by telling our customers personally how much I regret any problems or inconvenience they may have experienced as a result of the unauthorized intrusion into our computer system."
In a press release on Sept. 21 announcing its settlement offer related to the numerous customer class-action lawsuits against the company, Meyrowitz said, "We deeply regret any inconvenience our customers may have experienced as a result of the criminal attack on our computer system." Then she added this: "Importantly, we truly appreciate our customers' continued patronage."
Amen to that, brother. TJX's financial performance hasn't suffered, despite the bad publicity the company has received over the last 11 months. In fact, quite the opposite: net sales for its fiscal third quarter, ended Oct. 31, increased 6% to $4.7 billion, according to the company.
This week TJX announced a settlement proposal with Visa USA to compensate the banks that issued the credit cards that were compromised in the data hack. In a news story by my colleague Tim Wilson, one security expert points out that TJX hasn't done the one thing that interested parties and the consumer public at large would benefit most from -- explain exactly what happened.
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AMD Bitten By Barcelona Quad-Core Bug
What AMD has here is a failure to communicate. That's the only judgment one can make, in light of the scrappy semiconductor maker's about-face Thursday regarding shipments of its Barcelona quad-core processor, launched on Sept. 10. For the past three months, AMD has downplayed reports of tight supplies and delays in ramping up manufacturing of the cutting-edge chip. Now, the company seems to be simultaneously admitting to a slow ramp while saying nothing's happening that it hadn't already said was happening. Got it?
What Do You Want For Christmas?
According to a new survey, the most-wanted high-tech toys for technology professionals this holiday season are HDTVs and video game players. But what's at the top of CIOs' wish lists?
Another Network Management Startup Challenges The Status Quo
PacketTrap becomes the latest startup to take on CA, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard in network management with the beta release of its pt360 management dashboard. Rather than being deterred by deep-rooted competitors, brash newcomers are taking them on.
Top 6 Lamest iPhone Lawsuits
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Get (And Give) The Gift of Open Source
This Christmas I decided to give a few gifts to people in the open source community. I'm making donations to the maintainers of some of my favorite and most widely used software projects. They've earned some payback!
Google Adds AIM To Gmail :-) For Some :-/ For Me
At first, I was excited by this announcement since I use Gmail, but I can see some definite disadvantages here for fans of AOL, iChat, and Trillian ... or if you like downtime, since you might not get any.
For Carriers, An Open-And-Shut Case On Wireless
The spectacle of the U.S. wireless carriers falling over themselves to look like proponents of "openness" has intensified with the launch of an AT&T campaign declaring itself "the most open wireless company in the industry." Pardon me if I don't break out the champagne.
Is The H-1B Visa Cap Capping U.S. Innovation?
Restrictions on visas for foreign IT pros to work in the United States will drive more tech jobs and creativity offshore, says a new study released today. While that argument isn't new, the report has a collection of government and other stats to help back it up.
2008 U.S. Professional CRM Certification Seminar Series The 2008 U.S. Professional CRM Certification Seminar Series is scheduled to tour the following cities: Washington, DC, Atlanta, San Francisco, New York and Philadelphia. You can join the tour as a sponsor on one or all cities on the tour. Participants attending our seminars are from the global 1000 and US government.
B2B Collaboration: Assessing the ROI of Process Integration Business and IT leaders are under increasing pressure to improve B2B collaboration and the electronic communication capabilities of their organizations. This report looks at the key drivers for B2B collaboration in both the purchase-to-pay and order-to-cash areas and provides an ROI framework to help companies assess their areas of opportunity.
A Leading Power Utility Reaches for Transactional Efficiency A leading power utilities company had a substantial amount of money being paid out in duplicate payments and auditor's fees. The company's director of accounting services considered this a serious problem. The Oversight project originated with and was driven by finance professionals.
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