Zuzu's PetalsFacebook this week announced its new social media application targeted at children,  Messenger Kids.  Designed to be COPPA-compliant, the text, video chat and photo-sharing app combines parental controls with all of the quirky features that tweens and younger folks will simply love, thereby ensuring Facebook will enjoy a next generation of engaged customers … and also their data.

The new app drops smack into the ongoing cultural debate over the wisdom of young children being exposed to regular internet and social media use.  Detractors of the new Facebook app note concerns about data collection and use.  The Wait until 8th campaign advocates for no smart phone use until eighth grade.  Notably, both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs limited their children’s access to technology.  And studies regularly link social media use with increased rates of depression among youth.

The notion is that young people should be protected from unfettered exposure to social media and the Internet until they are old enough to use these tools with responsibility and moderation.  Fair point, but a flawed premise: when it comes to responsible and moderate use of technology, we adults still have a lot of work to do.
Continue Reading Forget petals – Zuzu wants a smartphone for Christmas

Vice President Mike PenceSorry to revive ugly memories of last fall’s vituperative presidential campaign, in which bile was spewed over candidate Clinton’s use of a private email server while Secretary of State, and its vulnerability to hacking.  Clinton eventually conceded that her use of a personal email server was a “mistake.”  Which it was, on so many levels.

Now, news reports indicate that Vice President Mike Pence, while Governor of Indiana, used a private email account (AOL, no less) to conduct state business.  And that some of the messages apparently contained sensitive law enforcement and Homeland Security information.  And that, unlike Clinton’s private server, Governor Pence’s personal email account was actually hackedAnd that the hack occurred (wait for it) last summer – in the midst of all of the self-righteous indignation over Clinton’s email practices.  Thankfully, Governor Pence and his wife were NOT stranded in the Philippines, and we did NOT need to wire them emergency funds.

These revelations will no doubt spur cries of bald-faced hypocrisy, and equally heated arguments that Pence’s situation is different than Clinton’s (AOL v. private server, Governor v. Secretary of State, sensitive Homeland Security information v. classified information, and so forth).

But here’s a thought – instead of yet another round of beating ourselves over the head with partisan cudgels, what if we tried something different this time?


Continue Reading So, Governor Pence used his hacked AOL account for state business – can we please now depoliticize data security?

Phishing emailReports indicate that in mid-March of this year, John Podesta and various Clinton campaign staff members received individual notifications from Google like this one, telling them to change their Google passwords, pronto.  Just one problem – the security alerts weren’t from Google.  Months later, a barrage of Mr. Podesta’s hacked emails were published by WikiLeaks, serving up yet more artillery shells in this war zone of a presidential election.

Let’s look at this through a different lens. What if there was a bank, Podesta Savings & Loan, and the bad guys scammed their way in, emptied the vault, and then scattered the currency all over Main Street.  You’re a bystander, and you see the bank’s cash being strewn on the street in front of the bank – is it OK for you to pocket the money?


Continue Reading Our complicity in the Clinton campaign email hacks

Woman talking with alphabet letters coming out of her mouth.At least, that is, unless overheard, written, or recorded. Just ask anyone following the presidential campaigns.  Absent concrete evidence, spoken words evaporate and any discussion of them quickly devolves into the type of “he said, she said” game usually seen in low-budget television courtroom dramas and on playgrounds.  A few weeks ago, my colleague Peter Sloan posted All we really need to know about Information Governance we learned in kindergarten.  Let’s ponder an additional learning point from Mr. Fulgham:

When you go out into the world, watch for traffic.


Continue Reading Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me….

3d blue cubes come together from different directions. Dr. Stephen Covey reminded us that “important” is not the same thing as “urgent.”  Records retention reminds us that important is not the same thing as exciting.  I get it – records retention schedules are boring.  But the fact remains that literally thousands of records retention requirements apply to your organization’s information.  I know, because my firm finds and tracks these laws as part of our many years of retention schedule work for clients across industries.  And your regulators expect you to know them too.


Continue Reading Why govern your information? Reason #11: Thousands of federal and state records retention laws apply to your company

Hammer ponding computer keyboardPoor data. Though more essential to business than ever before,  data is simultaneously frustrating for its inaccessibility, intimidating in its volume and complexity, distrusted for its unreliability, maligned for its management costs, and feared for its litigation, privacy, and security risks.

But let’s not cast business data as the culprit. Data is basically inert.  It sits where we store it, goes where we send it, does what we (or some system programmer) tell it to do, and is as secure as the safeguards we provide.  Data is not the “actor” – good, bad, or indifferent.  We are.

If we’re honest with ourselves, we can see that most every problem we experience with business data has its root in what people do, or fail to do, as individuals, work teams, or organizations:


Continue Reading People don’t have data problems ….