I’m all for privacy.

To be honest, privacy is a relatively new phenomenon sociologically and absent issues like identity theft and stealing from other simply by having their private data and knowing how to misuse it privacy shouldn’t really be that big a deal; just don’t do anything you’re ashamed of. But in the Internet / electronic age there’s a need to protect information. Privacy matters.

But as anyone who knows anything about the technological practicalities of privacy will tell you, there’s really no such thing; data systems will always get breached, and the best path to privacy isn’t about technology so much as knowing how technology you create will get used, and by whom.

Yeah, yeah . . . stop using Facebook right now. And with the US Library of Congress having just decided to start archiving the entire stream of everything that goes through Twitter, you’d better be really careful what you slap up there unless you don’t care about privacy.

Of course, you’re not going to stop tweeting, friending people, or anything like that, and from a business perspective you can’t. So you move on, hopefully at least a little bit aware of the potential consequences of your actions.

Here’s a new one to watch out for: the United State Congress is trying to pass a law that makes it illegal to send out fake information about your phone.

Constitutionality/free speech issues notwithstanding (and speaking as a non-attorney I suspect that most legal scholars would discount free speech as not applying to this issue), this is a law that looks like one more ineffectual band-aid. Simple reason: it doesn’t apply in a way that couldn’t be easily circumnavigated by any second-year law student.

The legislation would only outlaw the use of spoofing technology when the intent is to deceive and harm the recipient of the call

<Sigh>

All those who believe they have the definition of “deceive and harm”, please step forward.

As is the case with so many laws and rules, there’s a tremendous amount left open to interpretation. But data by definition needs to be tightly defined, and all this or any law that attempts to regulate the use of data without specifically outlining what’s acceptable for its use (as opposed to what isn’t) is going to do is create new loopholes that exploitative types will happily step through in defense of their own actions.

So, please: watch your data carefully (we can help). Don’t (for example) mask your caller ID information or change it to something else just because you can; it’s wrong.

Most important, be sure that when you create business process you’ve actually created process. Otherwise, like Congress’ new data spoofing law on privacy, you’re just being counterproductive.

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