The latest string of privacy fiascos from Google and Facebook lead me to wonder if they will ever learn to respect their consumer users. For both companies, I think one of the dynamics behind this is the fact that their these consumers aren’t the ones from whom the companies collect revenue, the incorrect conclusions the founders and executives derived from that, and the cultures they developed within their companies as they grew based on these erroneous assumptions.
Google has an almost innate ability to develop applications and services that unleash the power of the Internet to transform people’s lives. Yet the engineering culture that drives such stellar technical achievements is what hinders Google in their relationships with consumers. Google doesn’t have what it takes to run a consumer business: it’s just not in their DNA. This is how we can hear on the one hand about how Android is a smashing success from an engineering perspective and is purportedly now outselling the iPhone in the US, while learning the same week that Google is going to stop selling Nexus One direct to consumers.
To succeed with consumer products would require Google to have more polish and quality assurance beyond the core engineering challenge (versus relegating some services to the purgatory of perpetual beta), development of consumer customer support services (a la the Nexus One), and of course a more respectful approach to users (see: privacy).
Facebook announced new Open Graph and Instant Personalization features at the F8 conference on April 21, 2010. Since that time, several privacy bugs have been found and patched.
All of this has resulted in greater awareness about privacy issues on Facebook. Some have predicted that Facebook might lose users as people delete their accounts out of fear or frustration about their data being shared or exposed.
So, how have Facebook's changes and news affected you personally on Facebook? Have you made any changes or altered your behavior on Facebook as a result? Please participate in the poll below. (Your data will, of course, be kept confidential.) Thanks.
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I was just reading the recent Elinor Mills interview with Joe Weiss, and I wanted to share a few of my thoughts on the subject of securing industrial control system (ICS). Security for industrial control systems is an important topic in the modernization of critical infrastructure components. Sometimes we get too hung up on concepts like Smart Grid, but we forget that we've been dealing with similar systems for some time now. Currently, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and programmable logic controllers (PLC) systems are commonly found in electric, oil, gas, and water environments. Over the years these components have gone through varying degrees of modernization, but they are no less susceptible to security threats than smart meters or grids.