Wall Street Journal Amends Privacy Policy

The WSJ (Wall Street Journal) has announced substantive changes to its privacy policy ” to allow the site to connect personally identifiable information with Web browsing data without user consent.” This is a migration from a previous policy of obtaining  “express affirmative consent” from its users. The WSJ describe the change as ” part of a larger effort by the Journal to streamline and simplify privacy policies across its network of websites”. It is not being applied retroactively which means that present subscribers will not impacted by the change. In other words, it is partly streamlining its policies! Continue reading “Wall Street Journal Amends Privacy Policy”

Ryan Giggs Scandal – Superinjunction Law Firm Reputation loss

The Twitter outing of celebrity names who have taken out superinjunctions in the UK courts to prevent the reporting of adultery and other private misdemeanors has been a watershed moment in privacy laws in the UK. The Ryan Giggs superinjunction and his law firm Schillings’ decision to pursue Twitter Inc. aggressively seems to have backfired for both client and the law firm. Continue reading “Ryan Giggs Scandal – Superinjunction Law Firm Reputation loss”

Who’s the Ass, Judge Judge

It is too early to tell whether this has been a bad week for social networks or for super injunctions in the British courts. Super injuctions are a legal rulingtht forbids media reporting of court case. It can even cover the very existence of the court case. They were usually used to protect vulnerable individuals whose life could be placed in jeopardy if they were named. More recently they have been exploited to protect celebrities from media coverage on the basis they would invade their privacy.
Here is the problem: celebrities have a lot to protect in terms of endorsements which have substantial financial value. Should courts protect them from the fallout from their peccadilloes? Is a man who is cheating on his wife also a “family man” in the case of the widely reported footballer? Was the banker who had an affair with a colleague and had a super injunction so powerful that it could noteven be reported so deserving of court protection that even the regulators of his bank (the largest bankruptcy in UK history) were not aware of his behaviour.

The review of the system looks like it will remedy some of the issues by ensuring that all injunctions are fully explained and that they are for defined periods. This will almost certainly resolve the Twitter issues. The anonymous twitter user, like many others, was frustrated by the exploitation of the law by celebrities.
There is a wider question of whether celebrities should have a “private life” in the sense that you and I understand it. They are highly paid as celebrities and it is unconscionable that the court should protect their livelihood at the expense of freedom of speech.

Top 10 reputation crisis of 2010 – a recap!

Being Reputation Management Consultants,  Reputation Management For.com, have come with our list of top 10 reputation crashes in the year that was! Being the festive season and all, we’re doing it as honors awarded to the great captains of Industries, firms, celebrities and brands that went through a reputation storm in 2010… Continue reading “Top 10 reputation crisis of 2010 – a recap!”

Wikileaks – Privacy is dead, hello Reputation Management

The end of privacy as we know it is here and we have to accept it – clearly this is the biggest and the most pertinent outcome  of the WikiLeak releases. Privacy is so much a part of having a reputation as much as publicity is and this is going to change everything about managing reputations.

WikiLeaks is all out to release its entire cache of cables – diplomatic ones  and more. The ‘Cablegate‘ as it is being called is galvanizing into an anti-US supremacy crusade. Hilary Clinton’s busy calling up world leaders to assure their continued support and there is no denying that the US is feeling the heat.

Julian Assange though is continuing to release more incriminating documents even as he spends his first day, in jail, in London.  The Whistle-blower website explains about the journalistic angle to their mission…

When information comes in, our journalists analyse the material, verify it and write a news piece about it describing its significance to society. We then publish both the news story and the original material in order to enable readers to analyse the story in the context of the original source material themselves.

And as for the anonymous sources, the not-for-profit site,  provides protection when they say…

Unlike other outlets, we provide a high security anonymous drop box fortified by cutting-edge cryptographic information technologies. This provides maximum protection to our sources.

So, yes inter office memos, inter-departmental cables, corporate wheeling and dealing, inter-national relations can all be now in the Wikileaks cache. More such sites are reportedly cropping up across the world including one out to get the Russian mafia.

Clearly privacy is dead and from review sites and forums, we have moved on to WikiLeaks and more.  Twitter for one has been one of the biggest supporters of Julian Assange and Wikileaks and it’s all only just begun.

Reputation management cannot be any more relevant as the zeitgeist of the time is all about transparency and the right to information.

Facebook’s Gulf Oil Spill

It’s been bubbling under the surface for a while and now like the Gulf oil spill, it’s hit the surface and is spreading fast: public and government anxiety about Facebook’s approach to their members’ privacy. And like the Gulf spill it hits at the heart of their business model and their relationship of trust with their members.

A quick straw poll of friends using Facebook reveals that many of them are waking up to the horrors of  revealing too much about themselves. Now what people are also waking up to is that Facebook seems to be doing too little to help them as well.

It’s been a bit of a meme that Facebook is a little relaxed on privacy, now they are gaining a reputation for putting their business model before the interests of their members. Does this matter?

Trust in Facebook must be a key piece of the company’s genetic makeup. For Apple it is ease of use and brilliant design. For Facebook it is trust and connection. You join Facebook because it is where your friends are… if people start losing trust and stop using the service, it is like the tide going out: hard to perceive to start with and then a mighty surge.

What Facebook needs to do… and fast!

Rethink privacy settings and what in software is called Access Level Controls. What I find frustrating is that all contacts are equal in Facebook which is just plain bizarre when you compare that with real life. The Facebook interface is becoming increasingly difficult to use or perhaps just more opaque. Neophyte users may not care, but more and more of Facebook’s 400 million users, trying to find privacy settings is growing more important. Every report on Facebook privacy woes increases that fear and anxiety about using Facebook. Facebook used to be seen as harmless fun, then it became an addiction before it became a way of life.  The  company’s brand was originally fun, all this attention to privacy could be toxic.

Reputation Management Law & Right To Forget Law?

If you’re professional a doctor or a lawyer you’re probably wary of sites like RateMDs.com or LawyerRatingz.com, a bad review or comment there could make all the difference in your professional life. Reputation is all that matters to a doctor or lawyer their whole life, education and training all ride on this one factor through out their active years.

Good feedback from clients/patients on rating sites can double your value as a professional, you could be thinking of new offices and clinics with referrals from such sites. Much like hotel reviews on TripAdvisor can make or break your hotel’s reputation.  So what can you do if you have been maliciously slandered by someone out for a personal vendetta? Is there a way out?

When we read reviews online we tend to believe the person with a label similar to our own. For example: a review poster’s bio may be simply read – “50 year old man with arthritis” or “a mother of two toddlers” and the reader immediately connects with them. What follows in the review can make or break the reputation of the doctor being rated.

If all reputation management tricks fail to remove negative comments and reviews – law is the only way ahead. We could soon be having Reputation Management Law, wherein you could get the real identity of the poster revealed. You could actually find out if the malicious poster was actually your client or patient!!!

If you’re thinking ..”no way is this happening”, let me tell you that this has happened already – Lawiscool.com has reported exactly this …

The case of  Dr. Mohamed Foda of Leduc, Alberta, who forced RateMDs to provide information about a negative poster through the California Northern District Court in Foda et al v. RateMDs, Inc.  

Administrator of RateMDs, John Swapceinski, says that the site gets letters from lawyers once a month.  Not surprisingly, they do not comply with the requests.  The site does serve an important public function for consumers of healthcare.  But Swapceinski also said that Dr. Foda’s suit is the first time a lawyer has actually followed through and sued the site, and he indicated he would cooperate with a subpoena to release the information if one was provided.”

Here at Reputation Management For.com we welcome any such legislation and this could very well lead to a whole new branch in corporate reputation management. We are all for justice and this is reputation management at its most effective.

A grey area here could be the right to privacy and the big news today is that France is pondering on a Right To Forget Law to protect people from their own Tweets and Facebook posts!

These are very interesting times indeed for reputation management. Watch this space for updates on any legislation coming the reputation management way!