Privacy vs. Techonology 2.0

Originally posted at Lorry I Lokey Net Impact Chapter

I recently got a new cell phone, which came pre-loaded with an application many are already familiar with as Google Latitude. I like to refer to it as “Google Stalker,” because when the user grants permission, their friends can literally track them wherever they are. If you were signed on this morning, you would have in real time watched me move from my house to my car, onto the 580 East, exit Macarthur to Mills College, walk from the parking lot to the Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business, which Google Stalker accurately places me in the northeast corner of the building now.

Personal terror aside, this feature can and has easily improved the functionality of many businesses and municipalities. San Francisco MUNI uses a similar tracking system to accurately provide bus and train arrival times and delivery services use it to track delivery drivers on the job.

This week, Google debuted Google Wallet, another terrifying yet useful application. The application allows you to input your credit and debit card information into the app (currently only Citi Mastercard, with more in the works), wave your phone by a PayPass reader where one exists (almost every major retail store in the country) and you have just paid using your phone.

This is also a useful tool for business because it can provide a trackable per diem for business travelers, among other uses.

Yet again, a new Google product brings up the ever-growing issue of personal privacy in a digitally connected world.

Some of us embrace the technology and freely share our personal information, location and utilize social media features that may compromise our privacy.

But there is a whole sub-sect of modern-day Luddites who would sooner smash the servers and satellites than allow anyone to know where they live, what music they like, where they were today and who they are dating.

The modern-business person is left with two unsavory options: protect one’s privacy but be tragically left behind in understanding and utilizing new technology for business or sacrifice your privacy but become a commodity in a socially connected digital world.

Knowing intimately how these new tech functions and applications work allows the savvy businessperson to facilitate the existing function of the business and evolve and adapt along with technology. It’s hard however, to understand Twitter or Facebook and the business potential behind each without first using it yourself. It makes sense, I mean, how can you tell someone how to drive a car without having ever driven one yourself?

The modern-business person is left with two unsavory options: protect one’s privacy but be tragically left behind in understanding and utilizing new technology for business or sacrifice your privacy but become a commodity in a socially connected digital world.

So how then do you exist in the 21st century without airing all your deep dark secrets for the global public to dissect?

Discretion is key. Agree on common marketing goals within a business and create a unified voice for employees. Create public and personal accounts if your social media account is to be used for marketing purposes. Turn off Latitude when it serves no purpose. Don’t check in at the local bar on your lunch break. No need to share all three of your homemade meal recipes, photos and dirty dishes today.

Innovation will help you excel. Follow tech blogs and play around with new applications, think about how they can help you excel in what you are already doing.

Most importantly, stop stressing about your name being out there, the mere fact you exist today likely puts your name somewhere, what’s important is claiming the space as your own. Recognition aint bad, so instead of trying to erase your digital persona, polish it

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