Facebook has been a regular fixture in technology headlines over the last few weeks. First there were concerns earlier this month about a security flaw that allowed users to eavesdrop on the live chats of their friends, then the company was sent a letter by the European Commission stating that changes to its privacy settings are unacceptable.
To add insult to injury, the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU, also launched a petition directed at Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. All in all, not a great few weeks.But this week, finally, it seems that Zuckerberg has put his hands up, admitting that security and privacy controls need to be simpler so that people have easier control over their information.It’s clear from the reaction, both from privacy groups and the general public (over 13,500 Facebook members have committed to deleting their profiles on 31 May 2010) that people are increasingly aware – and concerned – about their digital privacy.Our recent ‘Web 2.0 in the Workplace’ research reinforces these sentiments – 54% people we surveyed said they would be ‘uncomfortable’ with their co-workers seeing their private social networking profiles and activity.
The security of information and data is a critical element to trust, and as such, often a vital ingredient for a relationship either between a business and individual (as with Facebook) or between two companies. Perhaps the key learning from Facebook’s experience is that people now expect privacy and data security to be a given. Indeed, this is something we would echo in our approach to security – it’s vital, but at the same time it is something which once in place, enables a businesses to fulfil its main purpose.