Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for March 12th, 2010

Ain’t A Bad Place To Be

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I’m starting my morning with a little AC/DC.  Hence the title.

Also, it’s a relevant riff on IBM’s recent recognition by the Ponemon Institute, which in its most recent privacy survey puts IBM just behind #1 American Express when it comes to protecting personal information, and #1 for technology companies.

This recognition makes me proud as a citizen of the IBM Corporation.

And I don’t think this kind of recognition just happens by accident.

As far back as I can remember, starting with former Chairman and CEO Lou Gerstner, his consigliere and chief counsel Lawrence Ricciardi, onetime IBM media VP Marianne Capponnetto, and IBM Chief Privacy Officer, Harriet Pearson, there has been an ongoing and serious internal IBM recognition that privacy would be a fundamental issue of the digital age, along with the actions to back it up.

This included one of the industry’s earliest and most aggressive online privacy policies, as well as moves intended to help bring the industry along (including IBM’s 2000 decision not to advertise on sites that didn’t contain a  privacy policy).

The issue of privacy could never be more serious than it is today.

From the potential for misuse and abuse of geolocation information, to political and social repercussions for companies and governments revealing information that can harm individuals and groups, to the most innocent intention of online connections inadvertently revealing too much information and leading to problems ranging from social embarrassment to extreme legal jeopardy — all these and more are both potential and real scenarios.

The rankings in the Ponemon survey were arrived at from responses by 6,627 U.S. adults that included more than 38K individual company ratings, and this is the third consecutive year that consumers recognized IBM at the most trusted IT company.

Harriet had this to say about the award: “We are honored to be recognized by consumers as the most trusted business-to-business company in Ponemon Institute’s survey. As data rapidly moves from the desktop to the cloud, consumers are more aware and concerned than ever about the security and privacy of their personal and sensitive information. IBMers worldwide are committed to delivering trusted and secure technologies, services and solutions that protect the privacy of our clients’ most valuable and critical assets and operations.”

In addition to ranking the most trusted companies, the Ponemon study reported that only 41 percent of consumers feel they have control over their personal information, down from 45 last year and an overall drop from 56 percent in 2006.

The survey also noted that identity theft is a top area of concern among consumers with fifty-nine percent of the respondents indicating that fear of identity theft was a major factor in brand trust diminishment, while 50 percent said notice of a data breach was a factor.

“The security of personal information is more important than ever to consumers and brand trust is closely associated with whether or not individuals believe that a company can provide privacy protection,” said Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder, Ponemon Institute.

Interestingly, as I prepare to head over to SXSW Interactive here in Austin, I count no less than 4 or 5 sessions on the topic, with Microsoft social networking research diva danah boyd giving a keynote on the subject tomorrow (“Privacy and Publicity”).

So, congrats to IBM and all the other recognees, but look for more details on this topic here in the coming days and weeks.

Written by turbotodd

March 12, 2010 at 5:35 pm

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