2009: A Year of Tensions and Technology

December 7, 2009
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It’s been an interesting year on the technology front. Without question, technological improvements have made our lives easier, more efficient, and more interactive. At the same time, however, they continue to pose major privacy and safety concerns that I don’t think we fully understand. Today seemed like an opportune time to reflect upon the past twelve months.

Scary Implications

I can’t help but be a little frightened about the implications of these stories:

  • In March, the Philadelphia Eagles fired Dan Leone, a stadium operator, for posting disparaging remarks on social networking site Facebook. Perhaps ironically, Marissa Anastasio-Leone soon started on Facebook a group intent on making the Eagles give her husband his job back.
  • Professional sports organizations such as the NBA and NFL have actually had to create and enforce policies surrounding the use of Twitter during games.
  • Faced with growing privacy and security concerns, Google has had to blur the faces of individuals on its Google Maps application. Technically, this happened in 2008 but I somehow only heard about it in the last few months. (Hey, even tech-boy here can’t possibly know everything about everything.)



It’s been an interesting year on the technology front. Without question, technological improvements have made our lives easier, more efficient, and more interactive. At the same time, however, they continue to pose major privacy and safety concerns that I don’t think we fully understand. Today seemed like an opportune time to reflect upon the past twelve months.

Scary Implications

I can’t help but be a little frightened about the implications of these stories:

  • In March, the Philadelphia Eagles fired Dan Leone, a stadium operator, for posting disparaging remarks on social networking site Facebook. Perhaps ironically, Marissa Anastasio-Leone soon started on Facebook a group intent on making the Eagles give her husband his job back.
  • Professional sports organizations such as the NBA and NFL have actually had to create and enforce policies surrounding the use of Twitter during games.
  • Faced with growing privacy and security concerns, Google has had to blur the faces of individuals on its Google Maps application. Technically, this happened in 2008 but I somehow only heard about it in the last few months. (Hey, even tech-boy here can’t possibly know everything about everything.)
  • In April, 18 year old Phillip Alpert of Orlando, FL was convicted of “sexting” a naked picture sent to him by his 16-year-old girlfriend. He was sentenced to five years in prison and required to register as a sex offender.
  • Also in April, Philip Markoff allegedly used Craigslist to solicit the services of model Julissa Brisman. Markoff allegedly attacked at least two more women using the popular website.

Questions to Ponder

These stories make me wonder:

  • Why do so many criminals share my first name?
  • Where do we draw the line between work and leisure?
  • Is there such a thing as a private text?
  • How safe can we expect to be online?
  • Do we have an expectation of privacy anymore?
  • Will everything eventually be available about everyone?
  • Are these technological advancements a net gain for society?

Predictions: What does 2010 have in store for us?

Let’s be honest here: Technology isn’t retreating anytime soon. Social media will only make us more connected, more exposed, more vulnerable. Even if we attempt to control what’s said or written about us, the delineation between our public and private lives will continue to erode.

Why do you think that Tiger Woods had to come clean? An insanely private person, I can’t imagine that he’d want to admit to “transgressions” if it wasn’t absolutely necessary. So why? He – and his inner sanctum – know that nothing stays private for very long these days. There are always texts, voice mails, emails, videos, tweets, and other forms of “media” that leak out, no matter how well you cover your tracks.

I certainly can’t predict the future. If I did, I wouldn’t have bought JDS Uniphase at $135/share back in the day. I am sure of two things, though:

  • Technology keeps moving forward
  • 2010 will be an interesting year for technology.

What do you think, loyal readers? Am I wildly off base or are you as curious as I am about what technology has in store for us in the next year?

Related posts:

  1. Kranzberg’s Six Laws of Technology
  2. Book Review: Trust Agents
  3. Social Networking in the Workplace

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