Posts Tagged ‘privacy’


In the Digital Age, What Is Private?

Thursday, September 4th, 2014
Digital Age What Is Privacy BurrellesLuce Media Monitoring Public Relations PR Software News Clipping Press Clipping

flickr user FutUndBeidl under CC BY

Could your kid suffer repercussions because of what you post on Facebook? That would be a yes, if you’re Ashley Habat, a mom from Florida whose son was expelled from preschool because of negative comments she made about the school on her Facebook timeline.

While Habat said the post was “private to [her] friends only,” she tagged the school in the post. “Why would you expel a four-year-old over something his mom posts to a private Facebook page only people on her friends list can see?” Habat asked.

Aside from the fact that tagging the school means it’s no longer just the people on her friends page, this story from last week ties in to the broader dialogue of what is private in the age of social media. Should we have the expectation that what we post on social media is absolutely private?

We shouldn’t, if we want to be savvy social media users. The Internet is not a private place, and screenshots and cached images mean that even deleted postings never die. This permanence can mean longer-lasting damage to personal reputation the reputation of the poster and the subject of their posting.

But you can also have private things online that no longer remain private thanks to malicious third party, as we’ve seen this week with famous female celebrities who had their personal photo streams hacked and the pictures leaked.

So what’s a savvy, everyday Internet user and public relations pro to do?

Think before you post – Always. You have the right to say what you think, just exercise prudent judgment about how it would reflect upon you if it were no longer private.

Enable every security setting you can – You also have the right to do what you want (within the confines of the law, of course) with your photos and content on your phone, email, and social media. But take as many steps as you can to prevent it, like two-factor authentication and better passwords, but know that even those steps might not matter much when it comes to hacking.

Value the privacy of your audience – It’s great to want to personalize brand experience, but because privacy is such a sensitive issue, campaigns should not be creepy or give the sense (or actuality) that the audience’s privacy has been invaded.

How do you define and protect your online privacy? How can organizations strive to protect the privacy of their audience?

Get Thee to a Lawyer: What You Need to Know About Canada’s New Anti-Spam Law

Monday, January 27th, 2014
flicr user buggolo

flicr user buggolo

Last week, Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) held a webinar about Canada’s new anti-spam law. I attended the webinar, which was led by copyright and intellectual lawyer Barry Sookman.

Here’s the first thing you need to know: I am not a lawyer. The law is intricate, confounding, and complex, and this blog post should in no way be construed as legal advice. If you have any questions, consult a lawyer.

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) becomes effective as of July 1, 2014. Sookman says it is a four-part legislation:

  • Anti-Spam: Deals with more than just “spam” as we think of it. The law will apply to the transmission of commercial electronic messages, whether it’s “spam” or not.
  • Spyware and malware: The legislation has been drafted in very broad terms to prohibit installation of any computer program, whether it’s malware or benign software.
  • Amendment to a national privacy law that prohibits address and personal information harvesting. This includes automated programs that collect email addresses.
  • Amendment to the competition act: An anti-trust act regarding false or misleading misrepresentation that has now been augmented with provisions making it illegal for emails to include misrepresentations. The definitions are very broad, and even extend to URLs included in an email and the subject line

Here’s the other top thing you need to know: If your organization sends any electronic messages to Canadian citizens, your organization can be found liable, whether you are based in or out of Canada. If your organization is headquartered outside Canada but has affiliate offices in Canada, those affiliate offices, and any messages you send to them, fall under the scope of CASL.

It’s worth noting that the business community in Canada wanted much more time to implement compliance, as the July 1 deadline may not give enough time for many to comply, since developing a compliance program means considering a number of pieces of legislation and regulatory laws.

Not complying can bring hefty penalties: Sookman warns that after a hearing, the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) can impose a monetary penalty of up to $10 million, and a private right of action can cost offending companies $1 million per day for breach of spam and malware provisions.

As I said before, the law is opaque and contradictory, so I’m not going to explain a lot of terminologies and provisions that Sookman explained. Instead, I’ll highlight a few very basic principles and once again encourage you to consult a lawyer.

  • Legislation dictates that organizations cannot send electronic messages unless the recipient has consented (there’s a lot of confusion behind express and implied consent, which is best explained by a lawyer). There must be a specific, prescribed unsubscribe option. This includes not just messages to email, but also to instant message and texts.
  • There are certain exceptions if your organization has an existing business relationship with the recipient, but when it comes to implied or express consent, there are many contradictory indications of when each applies.
  • The spyware/malware provisions deal with any computer programs. Sookman says that organizations need to be concerned about these provisions, as the requirements are not consistent with current business practices.
  • There is a general prohibition against a business installing programs on a computer system. If your organization has specific software clients need to run, this applies. You must acquire consent and change your websites, agreements, permissions, and download processes.

CASL makes the U.S.’s requirements look like an easy hurdle; it goes far beyond the scope of the U.S.’s CAN-SPAM Act, which includes requiring senders to tell recipients how to opt out of future emails and honoring those opt-out requests promptly. It’s likely that opt-outs will have far more prescriptions and specifications that those laid out by CAN-SPAM.

Sookman recommends that organizations begin with the following:

  • Ensuring the due diligence defense applies to them. This means that your organization takes all reasonable steps to develop a compliance program that applies even at board level, and that the organization has a policy to ensure regular updates and policy implementation. Sookman says that following guidelines may should like a reasonable way to follow due diligence, but a misunderstanding of the law will not help you establish a due diligence defense.
  • Conduct a review or survey of each department to identify current communications or software installation practices, methods of obtaining consent, and unsubscribe techniques.
  • Develop a plan to address gaps, establish procedures to ensure ongoing compliance and institutional monitoring of CASL activities
  • Start obtaining express consent ASAP
  • Check out the McCarthy Tetrault toolkit
  • Consult a lawyer

In short, CASL applies to a lot more organizations that I thought it would. There’s a good chance CASL applies to your organization. With less than six months until go-time, consult a lawyer and get moving.

Even if your organization has no affiliation with Canada, SIIA still provided access to a great lesson: we still have to pay attention, because it’s possible that if CASL is effective, the U.S. and other countries could follow suit and tighten regulations. Has your organization taken steps to comply with CASL? Do you think similar regulations could take hold in other countries should CASL prove effective?

Facebook Timeline: Exciting Users or Making Them Unhappy?

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Andrea Corbo*

Facebook has described it’s new timeline as a way to “tell your life story.” If you have any presence on social media sites, you’ve surely been hearing the hype from friends and online articles alike.

Users will now be able to display their likes, photos, apps, and more from the beginning to the end in timeline format rather than a traditional profile. This leaves many users wondering if the site will display things from the start of their account or if they’ll be asked to fill in the blanks from earlier moments in life. Of course there are other questions:

  • Will there still be a newsfeed?
  • Will there still be status updates?
  • How does this new type of profile influence the way we connect with friends and fans?

The company itself seems pretty confident in the new layout and timeline. They’ve even released a promotional video in anticipation of its launch.

With the countless changes to Facebook in the past, the most recent being the addition of a ticker of real-time updates from connections, I can’t recall a video for any of those new features.

With all this hype over timelines, I’m left wondering, what is the damage verses the gain when changing a social media site? Each time Facebook makes even a small layout change, users post angry statuses complaining about what they don’t like. When Facebook first added the newsfeed back in 2006 it seemed that everyone was outraged. Now, users are comfortable with the newsfeed (despite the latest updates that change the way posts are displayed in a feed) and expect to see it. So, do users just want to keep things the same for the sake of comfort? Or are these new projected changes really a negative thing?

With the new timeline, some current users fear threats to privacy, dislike the open display of too much information, and dread adjusting to the differences. Yet, others seem excited to relive moments with friends and embrace a new approach to display their info. I can guess that once the timeline is launched to all users, people will reject the change at first and then eventually learn to love it.

But for now, we will have to wait and see as Facebook Timeline Has One Week Time-Out and has delayed beta testing in order to sort out issues over possible trademark infringement.

***

After receiving a B.A. in communications, and briefly working at a TV production studio, Andrea began volunteering abroad. This lead her to work in the non-profit world, where she was fortunate enough to learn about international education, women’s empowerment and social issues for the elderly, while traveling to over a dozen countries.  Since joining BurrellesLuce in 2011, Andrea is excited to share her thoughts and views on branding, social media, and communications with the growing Fresh Ideas audience, as well as her passion for cultural awareness, volunteerism, and sustainable efforts. Twitter: @AndreaCorbo; Facebook: BurrellesLuce; LinkedIn: BurrellesLuce

Privacy on the Internet: What Every Communicator Should Know

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011
Flickr Image: o5com

Flickr Image: o5com

Privacy laws remain the same, even in electronic mediums. Many organizations think the rules might be different, but actually the same rules apply. This was a key point from the National Capital Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA-NCC) September 13 professional development panel.

The expert panel included:

Brigitte Johnson, PRSA-NCC president and director of communications and executive editor at American Forest Foundation
Randy Barrett, communications director, Center for Public Integrity
Justin Brookman, director, Consumer Privacy Project, Center for Democracy & Technology
Christian Olsen, vice president for the Digital and Social Media team at Levick Strategic Communications

All the panelists reminded the audience about the importance of being transparent regarding who you are representing when pitching online media.

Barrett commented on the concerns of media and journalists. Media outlets try to avoid the appearance of any kind of bias and ask their journalists to be careful of whom they “like” on Facebook. Journalists should also always identify themselves when on social media, verify all social media leads and remember social media posts are discoverable in court.

Always disclose who is behind a post, because transparency is key says Brookman. He recommended looking at why and how much secondary data you might be collecting and be sure to disclose how it will be used. You should try to avoid unnecessary collection. He used the example of mobile apps, which can often have access to all the data on the phone. Olsen agreed and commented on how he removed the Facebook app from his smartphone, because he thought Facebook went too far when his entire address book of phone numbers imported to his Facebook account.

Public relations professionals have an obligation to counsel clients on how to be transparent in social media. Olsen encouraged the audience to understand the rules of the various platforms and said everyone needs to be monitoring what is being said through various tools, whether that be a free or paid tool(s).  But as good as tools might be, it’s important to have someone, who has an understanding of the industry as well as social media, reviewing the information.

PRSA-NCC president Johnson reviewed the code of ethics for several professional organizations and found they all had truth, honesty, and fairness as the basis for the codes. She commented that we are all guided by our ethics, first, so don’t ignore them. She encouraged all to work to stop the idea of being spin pros.

How do you counsel clients on privacy and transparency? Are their examples you can share with the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas readers?

In PR and the Media: August 23, 2011

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Time to Review Public Subsidies For Media, Says Study Authors (GreenSlade Blog)
A new report from Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ) and Dr. Rasmus Kleis Nielsen (and Geert Linnebank) concludes, “It is time to review and renew media policy arrangements and bring them in line with the principles purportedly behind them and with the times that we live in.”

Miramax Launching Multi-Title Facebook Movie App In U.S., UK & Turkey (PaidContent.org)
Miramax eXperience launches on Facebook, giving users the ability to rent some 20 U.S. titles. Movies cost 30 Facebook credits ($3) and can be viewed over the course of 48 hours.

Specific Media Settles Flash Cookie Suit, Promises Never To Use Them (MediaPost)
A privacy lawsuit between web user Stefen Kaufman and Specific Media, which recently purchased MySpace, has been settled for an undisclosed sum.  But the debate over Flash cookies and ETags are far from other. AOL, Hulu, and Kissmetrics, are just a few the companies that still have cases pending against them.

Tumblr Talking To Top VCs About An $800 Million+ Valuation (BusinessInsider)
As Tumblr continues its expansions reports are speculating that the blogging giant is in talks to raise $75 million to $100 million.

Fox’s 8 Day Delay On Hulu Triggers Piracy Surge (FreakTorrent)
In an effort to encourage viewers to watch its shows live, Fox has stopped posting its shows online the day after the show airs. The result: viewers, who would ordinarily seek legal streams to view their shows, are now frequenting pirated sources.