OK, well this morning’s post was a bit ill-timed. As news spreads of the Google engineer who accessed users’ Google Voice call logs, chat transcripts and contact lists, it seems as though this is just one more reason for consumers to worry about their online privacy. But, while this may seem like the the perfect reason to unplug your life and delete every online profile, the phrase, “one rotten apple…” pops into my head.
I’m sure that someone at Wells Fargo can access my transactions or someone at AT&T can view my call logs or text messages – and they could have done it 20 years ago. So while I’m still a huge advocate of embracing online, location, mobile, and other services – and this is an extremely isolated incident – I do see this as a perfect opportunity for every company with users’ personal information to put some processes in place to prevent these types of improper privacy violations.
CNET’s Buzz Out Loud – my fav podcast – had some interesting solutions to this issue: oversight, hashing personal data, working in teams, etc. While these are great options, it still only takes one employee with an axe to grind, or worse, to make any company look evil.
Bottom line: It wasn’t the technology that exploited this data, it was a person. To me, it’s an HR/management issue, not a technology issue.