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Accidental sharing -- the plague of the always-connected era

Paul Venezia | Jan. 25, 2016
In the age of social media, it’s not necessarily in a company’s best interests to provide clear and concise controls over information access

To a significant degree, the tech world is blind to the real-world frustration and damage its "conveniences" can cause. As we consolidate technology and communication across devices, apps, social media, and so forth, a single message intended for a single person can unwittingly reach millions of people, simply by a misclick or a setting in a separate device that was either left turned on or turned off.

It's not realistic to expect the general population to fully understand all of the moving parts that can lead to problems like this, to have to inspect every new device, every new setting, every new app function or feature, and so forth. Heck, it's difficult for techies too: You might have missed that one option was moved from one preferences panel to another, and thus left on photo sharing by mistake.

For most nontechnical people who are at least aware of the dangers present in modern communication, they tend to adopt a stance of either "Turn everything off that you can, limit interactions, and hope for the best" or "Hell with it, I don't care who sees what I'm writing." The latter tend to not have young children with Internet access.

As we move forward, this problem will get worse before it gets better -- assuming it ever gets better. Aside from the occasional reply-all email fiasco, we've never been in a situation where it was so absurdly simple to erroneously send a private message to so many people, or to have that message displayed on random devices, connected TVs, and even refrigerators. Heck, an errant tweet could wind up on a CNN news ticker.

We as a civilization will either need to be vigilant about our communication mediums and closely monitor the myriad changes to the devices and apps that provide our digital lives, or we must proceed with the understanding that we have no real control over who reads our missives. These are both dangerous games.

In an ideal world, the technology would adapt to our needs, not the other way around. Unfortunately, it seems that those who are developing that technology don't think that controlling access to communication is a priority.

Source: Infoworld 


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