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Digital Privacy Pitfalls You Need To Know About

Digital Privacy Pitfalls You Need To Know About

When it comes to using computers at work, we recognize that there is no digital privacy.  Any email, webpage, instant message, Facebook update, tweet, or document we create on employer-owned hardware and via employer-owned software can be accessed by the boss (or at least the IT department).

But things have changed rapidly over the last few years, and it is often unclear what is considered ‘employer-owned.’

Many companies nowadays have implemented a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy — encouraging employees to choose and use a device of their choice to get work done — indeed, the company does not own the hardware.  And complicating matters is that most business software is SaaS (Software as a Service), accessible via a username and password on a web browser.

One might then ask:  does the employer really own the hardware or the software, and can they really control what employees choose to do with it?

Add to that the 24/7 nature of most people’s jobs these days and what is considered ‘working time’ is less obvious.

So, if I post to Facebook during the weekend on my own device, does that mean my employer has access to that content?

All in all, despite horror stories of companies firing people over Facebook activity, most employers really have no desire to control employees’ social media activities.  The only reason an employer might care is because it is trying to protect itself from data escaping and somehow being compromised.  This may or may not be intentional on the part of the employee; as we access more and more webpages, viruses, worms and other malware enter our systems to scrape information without our knowledge.

According to Samantha Feuer and Shayla Waldon, attorneys at global law firm Akerman, ‘while employers may be restricted in monitoring the content of employees’ social media activity, employers are not restricted from creating strong policies regarding employee misuse.’

After all, if employees are paying for their own device and most likely, their own Internet service, they are saving the company hundreds of thousands of dollars, sometimes millions.  Amazing, no?

However, knowing that most employers don’t really care about employees’ personal musings on social media doesn’t sit well with us here at PurpleSlate.  There is a larger context of digital privacy, related to employers or not, that should serve as a cause for concern for most consumers.

Our digital privacy is being compromised

Yes, you read that right, unfortunately. All of our digital activities are being tracked and our digital privacy is being compromised.  While most of us will never engage with the NSA, our contributions to Big Data could mean more unnecessary solicitations — junk email, pitiful Facebook ads, inappropriate Suggested Tweets — which distract us and waste our time deleting and removing.  Beyond annoying, there is an unspoken creepiness when we learn that a website we visited now has a Facebook ad staring at us, and a suggested app waiting for us in the Google Play store.

When you create invitations on PurpleSlate, you cannot share on Facebook or other social networks.  Your guests cannot share event details either, and cannot post photos or videos outside of the app.  All of your and your guests’ personal information and content stays within the app.  You manage your digital privacy the way you want. We wanted it this way because we feel that while our app is useful and provides personal value, we need digital privacy and more private interactions that will not be part of Big Data.  PurpleSlate users can rest assured that their information and behaviors will not be tracked and that they can trust the app when it comes to digital privacy. Sign up now to be the first to get notified when we launch.

You may also like a similar post I wrote on digital privacy concerns. Read here.



Posted by Jake Wengroff on July 29, 2015.

Jake WengroffI have served as the Founding Chairman of the Social Media Strategies Summit, and have written for publications such as and InformationWeek. I have been quoted in Time, Reuters, Bloomberg, and other publications on the topics of social media and marketing. If you enjoyed reading this post, join our email list to get free email updates.

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