The Great Debate UK

from Nicholas Wapshott:

Buying into Big Brother

Whatever high crimes and misdemeanors the National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden may or may not have perpetrated, he has at least in one regard done us all a favor. He has reminded us that we are all victims of unwarranted and inexcusable invasions of privacy by companies who collect our data as they do business with us.

Some, like Google and Facebook, pose primarily as software companies when their main revenue source, and their main business, is to mine data and sell advertisers access to customers. We knew this already, of course, though it seems many of us would prefer to forget the true nature of the technology firms that have boomed in the last decade. Seduced by their dazzling baubles, we have bought in to Big Brother without truly understanding the true price we are paying and will continue to pay for access to their brave new world.

We may take pity on the idiot schoolboy who uses expletives on Twitter or posts a picture of himself holding a joint at a party only to discover when he looks for a job that a trawl by an HR department has made him unemployable. But even smart people -- like the New York mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner, who sent lewd pictures to strangers -- can remember too late that in this wired world we are all being recorded all the time. Yet there is little legal protection from abuse by the companies who collate our personal data and store it for eternity.

One likely outcome of Snowden’s leak will be that the federal government has to justify its intrusions and maybe even show a prima facie case against an individual or groups before it gathers their data. There is no such move to ensure that pernicious data mining for commercial or private purposes will be similarly controlled. Primitive tribesmen, on seeing a camera for the first time, often balked at having their picture taken for fear it may steal their souls. Using the Internet is the same, except we know for certain that the price of going online is to lose all shred of confidentiality.

How social media can play a major role in disaster forecasting and recovery

–Julian Hunt is Visiting Professor at Delft University of Technology and the Malaysian Commonwealth Studies Centre. Joy Pereira is Deputy Director of SEADPRI, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. The opinions expressed are their own.–

The UN Climate Change Summit in Qatar will be negotiating levels of funding for adaptation against climate change. Social media, which can reduce impacts of disasters through community involvement and improved real-time management, must receive effective and rapid use of such funds.

from The Great Debate:

Should we ditch the idea of privacy?

The ubiquity of digital gadgets and sensors, the pervasiveness of networks and the benefits of sharing very personal information through social media have led some to argue that privacy as a social norm is changing and becoming an outmoded concept.  In this three-part series Don Tapscott questions this view, arguing that we each need a personal privacy strategy.

Since I co-authored a book on privacy and the Internet 15 years ago I’ve been writing about how to manage the various threats to the security and control of our personal information. But today I find myself in a completely unexpected discussion. A growing number of people argue that the notion of having a private life in which we carefully restrict what information we share with others may not be a good idea. Instead, sharing our intimate, personal information with others would benefit us individually and as a society.

First Direct CEO Matt Colebrook answers your questions

– Matt Colebrook is Chief Executive of online bank First Direct. The opinions expressed are his own. –mattcolbrook

In an article on 21 September, Matt Colebrook discussed the role of social media in banking, arguing that social networks are key for customer service as they enable customers to use and interact with banks whenever they want and from wherever they may be.

Matt Colebrook on the future of banking

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– Matt Colebrook is Chief Executive of online bank First Direct. The opinions expressed are his own. –

The 21st birthday of First Direct is as good a time as any to look back on changes within the financial industry and how it will continue to evolve.

Twitter Business Centre could expose firms to risk or reward

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-Bob Barker is VP of Corporate Marketing and Digital Engagement at Alterian. The opinions expressed are his own.-

Twitter’s decision to launch a Business Centre is an extremely positive development for brands that want to move beyond a marketing strategy of mass broadcast and one-way conversations with their consumers.

UK political parties take mixed approach to social media

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RachelGibson- Rachel Gibson is a professor at the Institute for Social Change in the University of Manchester. The opinions expressed are her own. -

The three main parties have clearly moved into full battle mode since the UK election campaign starting gun was fired on April 6th. And while the pounding of pavements and pressing of doorbells will no doubt be crucial in producing the swings needed in key marginal constituencies, the online technology driving these targeting efforts seems to have advanced a step or two since the last election.

TweetTracker shows Nick Clegg most liked

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Paul.Afshar

- Paul Afshar is senior account manager at public relations firm Edelman. The opinions expressed are his own. -

A famous German writer once said “personality is everything”, which could not ring truer for the UK’s General Election, and particularly “likeability” on social media.

The battle for Twitter

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Paul Afshar- Paul Afshar is senior account manager at public relations firm Edelman. The opinions expressed are his own. -

Twitter claimed its first scalp in the Election campaign on Friday with the sacking of Labour candidate for Moray in Scotland, Stuart MacLennan, following a series of controversial tweets on the site.

Old traditions die hard in UK election campaigning

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number10A study of constituency-level campaign techniques undertaken by Brunel University ahead of a general election expected in early May shows that direct mail is by far the most common method of contact used by politicians to reach potential voters.

Of the 27 percent of the electorate contacted by one of the three main political parties in February, about 90 percent received some form of communication through the post via direct mail, the study shows. Some 92 percent said they had been reached through mailings from the Liberal Democrats, 89 percent from the Conservative Party and 81 percent from the Labour Party.

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