Digital Economy or Big Brother In Disguise: Are You Being Watched?
In a world shaped by digital convergence, it is no longer realistic to expect a high level of privacy. If you consider just how connected the world has become, you realise that the digital economy doesn’t support anonymity.
I remember standing in a foreign hotel and agreeing to draconian Wi-Fi conditions, more than willing to entirely forgo my privacy to avoid massive mobile charges. I’m not unique, we all do it.
A world of analytics
In the era of big data, people would be ill-informed to assume that their digital activity is not being stored by service providers and that analytics is not being applied to their online activity.
But analytics can be beneficial to online users. For example, a browser that analyses your searches can curate the advertising content you see in accordance with your interests. For an avid traveller with little interest in gambling, this would mean more links to exciting holiday destinations and less to online casinos.
We’re torn between wanting to share our lives on social media and at the same time wanting to protect our privacy. Take Facebook ‘check-ins’ for example, by utilising this location based feature you automatically give up your privacy and allow others to know your whereabouts, which in itself can also be a security risk.
Uber is a great example of an app-based service that is solely dependent on you sharing your location. The minute you set your pick-up location, this data is stored and can be used to tailor content specifically for you, based on your area.
What a hack!
There is no doubt that 2015 was a successful year for hackers. From government departments, dating sites and corporate enterprises, no one was safe. Does this mean that we must accept the facts and carry on? Or should we remove ourselves from this world entirely? Neither option is reasonable.
We all need to adjust our digital activities accordingly. Would you want to have a compromising email, dodgy web history or embarrassing picture displayed on a billboard? If the answer is no, you need to reconsider your online behaviour.
Big Brother is here. He has many faces. He could be in the form of analytics or security based algorithms. In this time of big data, we are all connected to the digital economy, whether consciously or unconsciously. We all need to be present, accountable and aware to keep ourselves safe.
About Howard Blake:
Howard Blake’s character epitomises rising to the occasion and overcoming life’s challenges. He takes on the status-quo by using technology and circumstance to disrupt the old ways of doing business. Blake drives the business world to innovate through constantly challenging the limits of the traditional and pushing business towards the very edge of technological improvement. Using disruptive technology long before it became the axiom of today, Blake has managed to change the business landscape.
He constantly sees new opportunities and is continuously searching for better and more innovative ways of doing business. Combining industry-breaking ideas with advanced technology is his bread and butter. Blake has always been driven, and at the age of 27, with a young family to feed, he was driven to find new avenues for business. He began his career as an attorney, but later saw an opportunity to start his own venture, creating a debt collection company.
Blake’s entrepreneurial journey began in 1990, when he founded Blake & Associates, which now has an annual turnover of R350 million. In the early days, business was rough, but through his perseverance, Blake grew the business grew from the humble beginnings in his kitchen into a company that now spans three continents.
His success can be attributed to his constant restlessness and drive. Blake never settles and through his innovation, he has drastically changed the business landscape. His energy, never-ending curiosity and always ‘on’ attitude have made him an indispensable asset. This is because he takes full responsibility for everything he does.
Blake believes things need to be fresh, especially a business’s approach. This is why Blake & Associates changes their business strategy every 18 months. The company is now 26-years-old and stays ahead of the curve, thanks to his persistent hunger for change. Blake is always researching new ways to improve, endlessly researching market behaviour and future technology trends to ensure the newest and most innovative concepts.
Blake is always focused on the future and seeks to help those less fortunate, without equal opportunity. He has helped employ a staggering 17 000 unskilled people since the inception in 1990, a feat that many large firms would do well to try emulate.
Owing to his never give-up attitude, Blake & Holdings now an international powerhouse that began as a collections company, but now incorporates legal services, marketing, databases, contact centres and data analytics, to name a few. It is therefore no surprise that the ever innovative Howard Blake was nominated as a finalist for the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur Award and you can bet he will continue to be the visionary that drives the business world to its very edge.