September 30, 2013

Ansa: Text friends safely, securely & without regret

Go ‘off the record’ when sharing sensitive messages

Target audience: Startups, network managers, college students, privacy experts, mobile users, educators, journalists, Web publishers.

JD LasicaMobile is taking over the world, as tens of millions of us migrate from desktops and laptops to smartphones and other mobile devices. Today I’m attending Launch Mobile in San Francisco to get a sense of the latest trends (see my tweets by following @jdlasica on Twitter). And earlier this month I attended TechCrunch Disrupt, where a number of young social and mobile startups were on display.

One of the startups that caught the eye of the judges was Ansa, a messaging app that gives you control over the messages you share. One judge called it “Snapchat for grownups.”

I interviewed co-founder and CEO Natalie Bryla in this 6-minute video:

Watch, download or share the video on Vimeo
Watch, embed or share the video on YouTube Continue reading

June 11, 2012

Facebook’s biggest barrier to enormous wealth? Trust


Image by RedKoala on BigStockPhoto

 

Why Facebook will find it hard to monetize the social graph

This is first of a three-part series on Facebook as an investment. Coming up:
Facebook will remain king, but social pure plays will fade
Brands: How to cut your exposure to Facebook business risk

Christopher RollysonIf Facebook’s stock price were based on the number of blog posts about its IPO, the company would be in great shape, but too few posts have addressed Facebook’s real barrier to monetizing its business, so we will rectify that here. 

Although Facebook is a fantastic social venue and platform, I did not buy into Facebook and do not plan to invest in its stock. (The stock price is down 30 percent from its debut on May 18.) Facebook‘s Achilles heel is a significant trust gap with its users, and now, its investors. Its trust gap will make it difficult for Facebook management to fully monetize its most unique asset, its users’ social graph data. Moreover, the management team has not shown the insight or willingness to address this barrier.

Why lack of trust is Facebook’s Achilles heel

That Facebook has a spotty trust profile with users is an understatement. Its management has a history of being cavalier with users’ data. Although many have argued this point, I’ve observed that Facebook’s policies have been mostly legal, but trust is independent of legality. Facebook’s management has gotten better about “considering” users during the past year or so, but such consideration has felt compliant and not entirely voluntary.

This matters. Although I have no inside information about Facebook’s technology or strategy, my knowledge of user social data and its value in developing relationships leads me to deduce that Facebook’s gold mine is its unique knowledge of users’ social graphs. Just play around with Facebook ads. Only Facebook knows what California physics undergrads prefer in music, movies and running shoes. Who their friends and hobbies are, and when they post their running updates. And what moms with 3.2 kids who went to Berkeley think about whales or global warming or Republican budget proposals.

When users discover how Facebook intends to use their personal information, they will see red. This is Facebook’s biggest risk.

The problem is, although I’m sure Facebook has employed some of the best attorneys for a long time, and user agreements give Facebook the “right” to use social data however they want, we have all witnessed that users themselves revolt when they perceive that they have been duped. And when they discover how Facebook intends to use their personal information (that they have willingly, if ignorantly, surrendered, by the way), they will undoubtedly see red. This is Facebook’s biggest risk. It’s not a legal issue, it’s a trust and relationship issue. Continue reading

August 23, 2011

Why is the federal government regulating behavioral advertising?

David SparkBehavioral advertising is the practice of third party sites that track your web surfing behavior as you travel from one website to another, and then serve you relevant ads based on that cross-site surfing behavior. This has serious privacy concerns as information being gathered is being shared across multiple sites.

For years, the industry has tried to self regulate in order to keep the federal government at bay, explained Steven Bennett, lawyer for Jones Day in New York, in a presentation he gave at the CRM Evolution Conference in New York City. Continue reading

July 6, 2011

What kind of Web 3.0 world should we make?

Reid Hoffman
LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman (photo by JD Lasica)

Reid Hoffman on pervasive data and how it will impact business in the future

Christopher S. RollysonIn addition to being the founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman is a Silicon Valley insider with rich insight into technology trends, markets and building companies.

I attended his presentation at SxSW, where his main message was that the future was bearing down on us, and he prophesied that it would “arrive sooner and be stranger than we think.”

  • He painted the context for his theme, “Web 3.0 as data,” with this timeline:
    • Web 1.0 was a low bandwidth environment in which individuals searched for files online (and on demand). The concept of “cyberspace” was separate from the “real” world. It was an anonymous world in which many people participated as animes.
    • Web 2.0 was a shift in which people increasingly participated with their real identities (MySpace notwithstanding), and the online world became increasingly integrated with the offline world. Social networks mapped social graphs (again, with real people), and most people blogged as themselves. Online became firmly embedded in offline life, as a way to help manage and navigate by using reviews and other buying tools. Wikileaks and the current revolutions in the Middle East are part of this larger trend.
    • Web 3.0 is mostly to do with the massive amounts of active and passive data we are generating. An example of passive data is phone calls from mobile devices. Bandwidth is increasing, which enables video, audio and graphic sharing and data. Hoffman advocates thinking hard about it and acting to protect data. Think about what kind of future we want to create.
  • Web 3.0’s data introduces significant risks to privacy because every transaction, passive and active, is linked to our real identities. Mobile device transactions are constantly tracked, and this is relevant because they are tied to real identities.
  • Hoffman’s biggest fear is how governments could use information to control people. Governments are organizations that are closest to what he called “pure power” (because they integrate information, legal authority and military/police power). They can mine email, text and all other digital data to learn anyone’s social graph.
  • Unlike corporations, government is not incented to care for citizens; he implied it is less accountable. Continue reading
September 20, 2010

The law and emerging media

Can you buy back  your privacy?

Jessica ValenzuelaWith evolution comes change. With change come new ideas and new rules. At the second annual Social Media Law Conference in Seattle this month, a handful of thought leaders gathered to share and learn about the impact of social media and emerging technologies on the law.

John Palfrey, Jr., co-author of Born Digital and professor at Harvard Law School, opened the conversation by citing six major legal problems dominating the legal conversation around social media and technology:

  • security and safety
  • privacy
  • intellectual property
  • credibility of information
  • information overload
  • computing in the cloud

Law practitioners need to learn and understand the complex legal issues in a socially mediated world. What is the rule of law when it comes to emerging media?

A question of identity

When your offline and online identities collide, is there such a thing as a separation? When the wall between your offline and online personality is fast becoming non-existent, accountability in the social space and the physical space is a must. As your digital dossier exponentially grows over time, individuals should be more concerned about how information is gathered and stored. Should we expect that privacy concerns can be handled through less regulation? Dave Horn, Assistant Regional Director at the Federal Trade Commission in Seattle, says, “No, we will definitely see more regulation.” Continue reading