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Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

“I am not a number, I am a free man”

IDC reported that we generated and replicated 1.8 zettabytes – that’s 1.8 trillion gigabytes – of data in 2011. To give you an example of scale you would need to stack CDs from Earth to the Moon and Back again – twice – to represent that amount of data and its expected to grow 50x by 2020. Interesting factoid: Through April of 2011 the Library of Congress had stored 235TBs of data. In 2011 15 out of 17 sectors in the US have more data per company than the US Library of Congress, much of that data is about you.

Facebook is preparing to raise $100 billion, yes a hundred billion, in a highly anticipated IPO next spring. Twitter is valued at $10 billion, and social media companies are pulling massive valuations. In terms of data, roughly 4 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook every day, and Twitter registered 177 million tweets per day in March of 2011. The success of these companies, and many others, is trade in human commodity. There is an inherent value to your tweet, your wall post, becoming mayor at some DC cafe or posting your location to wherever people post those things, but the real value is simply in your existence as a number in a sea of other 1 and 0’s.

We are entering a world where every aspect of our lives, short of those thoughts we hold deep, will be processed, indexed, analyzed and archived forever. What we search for, our online activity, where and how we drive, what we buy; when and how often, our health, financial, and personal records digitized for quick sale to the highest bidder. Never before have we had the ability to implement systems to handle massive volumes of disparate data, at a velocity that can only be described as break-neck and with this ability comes the inevitable misuse.

The commercial implications for companies seeking access to this depth and breadth of customer intelligence is clear, but this same information federated with the analysis of unstructured video, picture, voice and text data in the hands of our government or one that meant us harm is truly frightening.

Social media is an interesting experiment in applying a large scale operant conditioning chamber to a mass population, the law of effect is a retweet, a friending, being listed on a top x most influential list, or whatever else elicits the desired response. We leap head first off the cliff of technology and only concern ourselves with the implications when they become a problem for us.

The irony is that in our search for identity and individuality in an increasingly digital world we have willingly surrendered that which we used to hold so dear – our privacy.

May future generations forgive us.

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We have entered a new era of information technology, an era where the clouds are moist, the data is obese and incontinent, and the threats are advanced, persistent, and the biggest ever. Of course with all the paradigm-shifting, next generation, FUD vs. ROI marketing, its important to remember that sometimes we need to balance innovation against misunderstood expectations, vendor double-speak, and relentless enterprise sales guys.

Because contrary to the barrage of marketing, these technologies won’t make you rich, teach you how to invest in real-estate, help you lose weight or grow a full head of hair, it won’t make you attractive to the opposite sex, nor will it solve all your problems, in some cases they can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your operating environment but it requires proper planning, expectation setting and careful deployment…and on that note, I give you the top 10 most overhyped technology terms over the last decade.

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(this post is dedicated to all those I have debated – poorly – on twitter and in blogs)

I must admit that I do enjoy the experience of a good debate, the adrenaline rush, the give and take with a qualified adversary, the thrill of victory and hopefully the expanse of ones views. So often though many of us fall back on cheap tricks, emotional triggers, and framing points of view in extremes or black and white terms – all of which result in polarizing, as opposed to elevating the discussion. This is not a new phenomenon and has been used through the years by some of the most prolific personalities in history. In some cases the result is for the betterment of all and sometimes it is to the detriment of many.

What is new is social media, such as twitter, blogs, facebooks, etc., which provide an excellent mechanism to reach a large population of geographically dispersed people – that is good. Unfortunately the speed at which information is disseminated as well as the lack of detail and time used to build an argument that can facilitate healthy communication is severally impacted in these mediums – that is bad.

I don’t know how many of you have tried to carry on a debate in 140 characters, but it is a poor forum for anything beyond where one should eat dinner and even that can quickly border on contentious if not bounded properly.

Here is an example of a bunch of recent twitter debates (modified slightly and the names have been changed to protect the silly):

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fightthefud

Few things can evoke more uncertainty and doubt than fear (here)…

The threat of cybercrime is rising sharply, experts have warned at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Online theft costs $1 trillion a year, the number of attacks is rising sharply and too many people do not know how to protect themselves, they said.

On-line theft costs $1 trillion US dollars a year?  We have certainly come a long way since the Dark Avenger first crafted his polymorphic virus in the late 80’s but a $1 trillion a year? Seriously? Where the hell did the figure come from? To give you some perspective of size the total US GDP is about 14 trillion and that includes EVERYTHING.

But it gets worse…

“2008 was the year when cyber warfare began.. it showed that you can bring down a country within minutes,” one panelist said.

Cyber warfare began in 2008 – between which countries? It showed you can bring down a country within minutes? Seriously, bring down a country, really, are you kidding? Is this some kind of sick world economic forum humor or just sheer ignorance?

So people are unable to browse to youtube or update facebook, or download Goth porn, or make their way over to my blog and up my readership – these things are all terrible, no question, but bring down a country? I can hear the threats now “Either your country surrenders or we will DoS you back to 1995″, just doesn’t have the same kick as “bomb you back to the stone age” does it.

There is no question that we have a problem, the increased reliance on technology, the ubiquitous nature of broadband connectivity and more digital commerce all create an environment that will breed crime. I believe that awareness is important, people should understand the dynamics and risks inherent in this new digital environment, but FUD doesn’t work, it drives up hysteria and then it crashes into ambivalence, FUD is the drug of the security industry and apparently many are addicted.

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