[Log In] []

Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Saturday, May 25, 2024

Protect Privacy to Build Trust in the Age of Context

Author: Mark Dixon
Monday, November 4, 2013
4:04 pm


My recent post about the book, “Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy,” by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel, began to explore the benefits that might accrue from converging technologies of the “perfect storm” of mobile devices, social media, big data, sensors and location-based services. But what effect will this have on personal privacy?

Scoble and Israel provide these comments in the final chapter of the book, entitled “Trust is the New Currency”:

We have spoken to hundreds of people and looked at hundreds of technologies, and we firmly believe that adding context will make the world an easier, more efficient, cleaner and more productive place.

However, we’d be negligent if we didn’t point out that the price we pay for many of these benefits is our personal privacy. Every new piece of technology we adopt requires us to consider that price and how it will be exacted.

The book proposes the follow principles that need to be wrestled with in this area.  These are not the exact order or terminology used in the book, but my interpretation of what is needed.

  1. Transparency and candor.  Service providers don’t attempt to cover up impacts to privacy made by choices consumers make.
  2. Freedom to choose.  Consumers are always able to opt in and out at will – choosing what privacy they may be willing to sacrifice for other benefits.
  3. The right to know.  Consumers can know what data services providers maintain, and what that data is used for.
  4. The right to go silent.  Consumers retain the right to “go silent,” or opt out of any attempts to monitor or track that consumer.
  5. Data ownership.  Personal data remains property of the consumer, event when the service provider is a steward of that data.
  6. Human override.  Humans can always over ride automatic processes.
Do other principles apply?  Probably.  But figuring out the implication of this list will take some concerted effort.

Scoble and Israel propose that online service providers that get it right will gain advantage over those that don’t – that privacy will become a valuable asset, not just for consumers, but those who hope to deliver services to them.

This was echoed in a recent Huffington Post article:

Today there is a new business currency. It can’t be found at the local bank, or purchased for any price. The new commodity is trust. And while I speak of trust as a commodity it can’t be bough or sold. It has to be earned. … A shift is underway in how businesses and consumers interact, both online and in person, and the businesses that recognize the value of building trust and dare I say “wow” with each transaction will set themselves apart from the competition.

“Protect privacy to build trust” can and must become a powerful mantra for modern business.



Comments Off on Protect Privacy to Build Trust in the Age of Context . Permalink . Trackback URL
WordPress Tags: , ,

Great Book – Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy

Identity, Privacy, Technology
Author: Mark Dixon
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
10:24 pm


This evening, I finished reading a fascinating book, “Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy,” by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel.

Scoble and Israel propose that we are in the midst of a perfect storm:

Our perfect storm is composed not of three forces, but five, and they are technological rather than meteorological: mobile devices, social media, big data, sensors and location-based services. … they’re already causing disruption and making waves. As discrete entities, each force is already part of your life. Together, they have created the conditions for an unstoppable perfect storm of epic proportion: the Age of Context.

I have long been fascinated with the concept of context. I first mentioned context as an important factor in Identity Management in July, 2005,  as I blogged about the Catalyst Conference.  During my years with Sun Microsystems, we often spoke about “context-aware, blended services” being delivered via mobile devices.  For example, in September, 2008, one of my blog posts entitled, “Sensor-triggered Personalized Services,” stated, in part:

Project Destination, an initiative I lead for Sun, is all about providing the infrastructure to deliver highly personalized, context-aware, blended services to online users across the “screens of your life.” When you couple sensor technologies with Identity, personalization and service orchestration techniques, you can get some powerful results.

It is great to see the progression and refinement of that concept.  I sense we are barely scratching the surface of possibilities in this arena.  Lot of fun ahead!

Comments Off on Great Book – Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy . Permalink . Trackback URL
WordPress Tags: , ,

Identity is the Foundation

Author: Mark Dixon
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
5:43 pm

I enjoyed reading Ian Yip’s blog post this morning: “Identity is the Foundation.” The heart of the message:

We need to be stating the fact that Identity is foundational to the enterprise. i.e. Identity is the foundation. (emphasis addeed)

As far as identity is concerned, we need to think about it a little differently than we have in the past. Identity is less about the “who we are” and more about “what we are”. We care a lot more about what normal usage patterns look like, what someone is currently doing and what else they could potentially do. In other words, identity today is so much more than it used to mean in the past. It is really about reputation, relationships, context, activity, behaviour and being able to take fast, appropriate action in reaction to things that happen.

I think the concept that identity is a dynamic and immediate is solidly in step with modern business reality.

Comments Off on Identity is the Foundation . Permalink . Trackback URL
WordPress Tags: ,

Data in Context

Author: Mark Dixon
Saturday, September 15, 2012
7:35 pm

The following graphic is a great example of how false conclusions can be easily drawn from perfectly good data.  This is a graph provided by our electrical utility for our family home covering the month of August this year.  It looks like we had a super-efficient month of August for electrical usage, correct?

Well, if you had known the context, the report wouldn’t have looked so good.  During the month of August this year, our home was being restored from a house fire.  No air conditioners were running in the house during the entire month.  No wonder we had a low power bill!  If only we would compare so favorably now the new air conditioning units have been turned back on!

Comments Off on Data in Context . Permalink . Trackback URL
WordPress Tags: ,
Copyright © 2005-2016, Mark G. Dixon. All Rights Reserved.
Powered by WordPress.