Why does privacy mean something different to everyone?

To lawyers and IT, privacy involves policies and posters.  When working with banks and hospitals, privacy is seemingly all about the release forms.  At the grocery store, signing away privacy rights on your purchase history gets you discounts.  Likewise, auto insurance companies offer substantial incentives if they can closely monitor your driving behavior via a tracking device attached to your car.

Privacy is often viewed as the opposite of corporate opt-in agreements

Ultimately, privacy decisions deeply affect the individual and need to be more than a click or a signature indicating general “acceptance”. All of us need to be individually responsible for our privacy.  And for the specific measures that help us keep private data private.  The stuff we really care about.

Real privacy is really personal

Examples of erosion of privacy are everywhere.  In addition to opt-ins, overly-invasive application permissions, misconfigurations, vulnerabilities and data breaches give direct access to sensitive data.  Individuals in younger generations tend to be much more open and sharing of personal info than those who didn’t grow up as digital natives.  The continued melding of aspects of work and personal lives through shared apps, contacts and social media challenges what have otherwise been well-defined boundaries.  These issues get even more interesting and complicated when you intersect personal and corporate privacy.

Approach the privacy intersection with caution

The big intersection point between personal and corporate privacy that directly affects most people is mobility.  How does privacy work when personal devices, apps and data are used at work?  And what controls do we as individuals have available to prescribe and manage our privacy at work?

At Citrix Synergy 2014, I’ll be co-leading a discussion with Joe Nord around configuring Citrix products for enterprise privacy. Be sure to attend Synergy, and also be sure to attend  SYN262: Configuring policies and products to meet today’s privacy challenges.  A few of the key issues we’ll be addressing are:

  • Do you bring your own devices into work?  Use systems at work to access your personal email or social networks?  How do you manage to keep your personal information from the prying eyes of co-workers and IT administrators?
  • How does privacy on BYO (Bring Your Own) differ from COPE (Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled)?  What are your personal expectations of privacy in each of these models?
  • What are the boundaries and lines that you don’t want your employer to cross?  Looking through your photos?  Adding your MP3s and videos to their personal collection?  Archiving and searching SMS?  Looking to see who’s recently updated their resume?
  • What privacy issues do people who travel internationally need to be concerned about and what can they do to best protect themselves, their company and their customers when systems are “open” to inspection?

What are your personal experiences and unanswered questions regarding privacy at work?

Joe and I will be covering key issues from both the perspective of the individual and of the company.  And, we’ll be providing specific guidance for individuals to setup and maintain privacy models that fit their lifestyles, as well as for IT administrators to configure, automate and audit for privacy.  We hope to see you at Synergy!

To participate in this discussion from the enterprise privacy perspective, visit Joe’s blog:  Privacy: What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine?

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