Making friends – Breaking friends on Facebook ;-)

I made a post some time ago on how divorce lawyers are using Facebook as a goldmine of incriminating evidence especially when it comes to custody of children. Well the practice is becoming all too common and a favourite hang-out for divorce lawyers is on social networking sites. The latest stats are as follows:

“Facebook is the unrivaled leader for turning virtual reality into real-life divorce drama, Viken said. Sixty-six percent of the lawyers surveyed cited Facebook foibles as the source of online evidence, she said. MySpace followed with 15 percent, followed by Twitter at 5 percent.

About one in five adults uses Facebook for flirting, according to a 2008 report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. But it’s not just kissy pix with the manstress or mistress that show up as evidence. Think of Dad forcing son to de-friend mom, bolstering her alienation of affection claim against him.”

Read more at Associated Press.

What is it worth to you?

I attended an extremely interesting auction in London back in April – yes, so interesting that 2 months later, it is still worth blogging about. Up for bidding include fresh credit card data and life insurance records. Extremely sensitive and private data, possibly worth a lot of moolah could be yours to own. But unfortunately, this mock auction was just part of a presentation at InfoSec 2010.

The ‘auctioneer’ got the audience very engaged in the bidding process and together with the panel of privacy experts, succeeded in demonstrating the existence of different perceptions to the value of data. The audience were equipped with some snazzy device to lock in the monetary amount they think the items were worth. The huge gap between the highest and lowest bids is evidence to how differently people have defined the value for each lot. Here were the 10 Lots up for auction and some of issues brought up during the discussion:

Lot 1: Fresh Credit Card data
Lot 2: Cure for flu
Lot 3: Personal family portraits / photographs
Lot 4: Life insurance records (inclusive of medical data records)
Lot 5: Customer database of UK high street retailer
Lot 6: Completed high school application forms for south east london (children data)
Lot 7: Copies of mobile phone bills for 500,000 customers
Lot 8: Credit records from a leading credit rating agency
Lot 9: All your deleted emails
Lot 10: The audit trail that lands your CEO in jail

It was quite exciting to see the amount that people were bidding for in each lot and even more fascinating to hear the reasons to why they think the data was worth that amount. For example, I would imagine that fresh credit card data would be worth a few million dollars in the black market. But this is not necessarily so as it depends on the quality of the data. There is a possibility that only a small percentage of those numbers are valid.

How much are your personal family photographs worth to you? And how would this have differed if you were famous celebrity? How much would you have bid for to keep those photographs from the hands of the tabloids? If you were working for a newspaper, how much would those photographs be worth to you? Is it worth so much even if those photographs were acquired illegitimately? And if you know that obtaining the photographs might not give you the negatives to those photos, would you still submit a high bid for it?

Lot 5 give some interesting discussion as well (considering it was near UK election time). The issue of reputation of businesses was brought up and how this serves as an incentive for a business to protect their client’s data. This incentive might be lacking in government entities to protect their people’s data. Of course they may have other incentives to do so.

With more detailed mobile phone bills (as compared to back in the day), it is possible to infer relationships and obtain other phone numbers. What if (once again) you are famous celebrity? One might possibly infer other celebrity’s mobile number from a copy of your phone bill. Is the convenience of replacing a credit card over that of replacing a personal phone number determine the worth of a credit card over a mobile phone number?

So, how much would you have bid and why?

Here’s a link if you want to read more about the mock auction.

Inmates in from Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center are a part of the conversation

What an inspiration! The power of social networking, we all have a voice!

Any of us can be a part of the conversation wherever we are, whoever we maybe and in whatever format it may take. This gives energy, from a place that I would imagine is full of negative energy. It gives me hope. I hope it gives you the same. BTW. this is just one of many, I believe the first such upload was Thriller in 2007 just look around YouTube to find more!


More CCTV to come for Sweden

The Swedish Minister of Justice, Beatrice Ask, announced this Monday that she was positive to changing the legislation regarding CCTV in public areas. Unfortunately, she wants to make it easier to set up cameras. Also, she proposes that store owners should not need to get permission beforehand. Instead, it should be enough to notify some time after the camera has been installed.

In brief, she is for making it easier for business owners and municipalities to install CCTV. She also want’s the governing of CCVT to be handled by the The Swedish Data Inspection Board (it was previously handled by the different county administrations). So one bad and one good then. But this statement made by Beatrice is a bit worrying:

“- It is about specific, defined areas where camera surveillance is very important as a preventive measure especially in the case of theft and burglary”. Sounds good, but this statement is not backed up by any proof. I’ve mentioned this in a previous post.

Even more worrying is that the opposing parties only object to that it has taken her so long to propose this change. One can only hope that this is all to get voters for the upcoming election this September.

Policeman loses job because of his blog

Following my recent thoughts on why people should be more hesitant in blogging all and everything that’s in their head, I now read that a policeman lost his job because of what he wrote in his blog. These blog entries focused on his work in the police and were told to give the readers a view of the police work they they would otherwise never get.

But the blog postings were mocking both colleagues and crime victims, which in turn got the heads of his department to fire him for disloyalty against the department and breach of his obligations towards the employer.

This is believed to be the first time this happens to a police officer in Sweden. Link to the article in Swedish.

Delete your Facebook account?

An account can be permanently deleted by going to the Help Centre in Facebook… interesting tips provided here on how to protect your privacy on Facebook with the new controls, and how you can delete your account!

You know I’ve thought about it many times… committing Facebook suicide, as I have aptly called it. Why “suicide”? Well you know your virtual identity can continue to live after you die if you wish. I have made some postings on this before. This means that you need to make decisions on how/if your virtual identity will exist and the same applies with your real life.

Why would you want to delete your Facebook account? My reasons were that it was getting too complicated with the privacy settings, and one of ‘my friends’ were not as careful as myself in what is posted (some content was on the level of ‘adults only’) and their privacy settings were non-existent, so it didn’t look good if I was in their friend list, yet I didn’t have the heart to tell them that this was a problem for me.

Other friends of mine have had different reasons for wanting out on Facebook. They have for example, been in relationships that have extended into Facebook, and it complicated an already complicated break-up in their physical lives when they have joint friends, newsfeed that informs each other what they are up to without each other… this means that they have to stop being friends on Facebook, but still means that joint friends can leak information to each other. In nasty break-ups I even heard of cases whereby one partner deleted ‘friends’ that continued to be friends with his ‘ex’.

The other issue has been those that have setup Facebook accounts and mixed personal and professional friends.. this is especially sensitive if professional friends includes customers. One way of dealing with this which is what a friend of mine did was deactivate his account for about 6-12 months following a relationship break up and then ‘clean up’ his friends. This way he was able to remove many friends discretely without them missing him as his account had been out of the loop for quite some time.

So in the end I didn’t delete my Facebook account… and why? Well because I enjoy the social element. It keeps me in contact with my family, friends and some of my professional network that have become friends over the years. I never got into the snail-mail, letter writing thing ;-). I love sharing moments that I have with my daughter on Facebook, and it lets me share with my family that live in other countries to watch and be involved in my daughter growing up. I love seeing how different friends of mine use Facebook to communicate and share. There is so much good here, it has become a part of my lifestyle… so long as I can keep it private, and mine and my daughter’s personal life does not become commercialized. Is that asking too much?

…slow blogging…

Karens birthday post got me thinking a bit…

I sort of agree with what I was said on blogging about the mundane: it’s ok. And if you want others to know about your what sandwich you had today, why not?

But one should never forget that what you think and what you say needs not to be the same. Writing on a blog might get people to be more direct with their thoughts, but in this day where everything needs to be online as soon as it happens, people go off posting their imediate thoughts on everything. Facebook and Twitter, who encourages short comments (“What are you doing now?”, “What’s happening?”) are prime examples of this. We’ve had examples of politicians and celebrities ending up in the news because their quick, spontaneous postings have been i’ll formulated and interpreted in a bad way (perhaps the correct way, but probably with an unwanted effect). There is little risk in ending up ridiculed in the newspapers for the majority of bloggers, but the risk is still that you come of looking like an idiot or worse when you’re just posting your immediate thoughts on complex subjects.

I would hope that people in the near furture shows more restraint in posting on their blog, feed, logg, whatever. Actually, I would like a counter on the users Twitter, Facebook, WordPress page, alerting them whenever they get more then one entry per hour: “You are reaching a dangerously high posting frequency. Please re-read your current entry and evaluate if you REALLY want to share EVERY random thought with the WHOLE WORLD”.

happy birthday to me :-D

Yes that’s right, today is my birthday! And it feels amazing to be… well on the other side of 45, getting closer to 50, and yet a part of this amazing information age with you!

I was thinking how much things have changed on my birthday over the years. This morning when my dear daughter woke me, the first thing I did after feed her, was go down and make tea, go to my study and work on my MBA paper. Well the making tea bit is quite a normal day, in fact, as is the studying, but before the study bit I couldn’t resist going online to check Facebook. Here my friends had already started posting on my Wall birthday greetings from Australia, Middle East and UK, and it is only 6AM here in Sweden 😀

And this is what has changed, despite all its warts, Facebook enables my “friends” to share in my special day. Give me a great feeling that others are interested in what is happening in my life. In fact it doesn’t matter how lonely we may have felt in our life before Facebook, now, today in this most amazing information society that we are all a part of, we will never be lonely again. We get so many “flowers” as it is called in some European cultures (which means nice words) when we login. We are all a part of a conversation. This conversation enables each one of us to feel part of a community, a community that matters, where each on of us have a voice and where we can be sure that someone out there is listening and interested in hearing what you and me have to say.

I just love this quote from Mena Trott, President of Six Apart…..

“Many ordinary people are scared of blogging because they feel that they have nothing to say. Yet mundane is interesting; it’s OK to talk about your sandwich. To a handful of people in the world it may mean a lot.”

This just about sums up the beauty not just of blogging, but of social networking. It has changed over the last 10 years the dynamics of how everything is working in our world. The world is smaller, cultural boundaries are being crossed, it is almost as though we have found a common language to speak, and this is not just English but something more profound. True many of us are communicating online in English, an abbreviated version, spelling and grammatics have lost their importance. We can write blog posts, post how we are feeling on Facebook, or twitter, or both. We are communicating with pictures, audio, video, everything that enables us to reach out and share how we are feeling and seeing the world outside of the boundaries created by the language that we may be imprisoned by, or empowered by. And this is what is so amazing!