I am lucky enough to be sitting here next to Michelle Dennedy, Sun’s chief privacy officer, at a panel of Sun chief technology officers.
Before the session started (and I should finish up fast because there is some serious brainpower talking to us right now) we had been discussing the nature of privacy, and like me, Michelle believes that it is a concept that goes beyond the personal. Many in what was “the privacy community” have moved on- considering that data governance is a more useful way to think about issues of information flow and risk. But I think privacy has legs still, because its something that we all have a view on, whether its privacy is dead, get over it, or privacy is all important.
Terry Sigle, who is working for Michelle, recently asked a really interesting question on his blog – What Does Privacy Mean To You?
Terry isn’t looking for the opinions of security or identity specialists but anyone. As Michelle pointed out to me, kids have some great insights (out of the mouths of babes).
Her own little girl came up with a brilliant take on privacy and what it is:
Privacy is like grass, she told her mom. Why asked Michelle? Because it keeps the dirt from being naked…
I, for one, would love to see some more responses so please go and put forward your own views on what privacy is.
It seems to me that companies should be thinking about what corporate privacy is, not solely because of regulatory risks, but because of the opportunities inherent in better understanding the nature of privacy in your business. That is one reason i believe any major company should have a chief privacy officer, not someone concerned just with employee or customer welfare, but driving the bottom line by helping the company to better understand what is and what is not secret or private. Companies everywhere are being encouraged to be more open, in order to collaborate more effectively with partners and customers to create new products and services. But if you want to collaboratively innovate you really need a sense for levels of corporate privacy. What are we sharing and why, and in what context?
Data governance is a powerful an useful way of looking at your information assets but I think privacy remains is a powerful concept because we can all talk to it. That’s why I am intrigued by what Terry wants to do. He needs your help. I would also encourage Sun to shine the spotlight on people like Michelle and Robin Wilton, so that they can begin to socialise notions of corporate privacy in an age of declarative living. Solaris now phones home, which is potentially very useful for Sun and its customers. But the function might scare some people. Michelle and other privacy experts at Sun though, are not scary. They can help prepare the way for the next bit step towards the network as the computer. Privacy will be a critical component of The Participation Age, because its going to be about people and communities, not the underlying technologies.
Michelle has appeared on monkchips before – see our Coop for links.