Privacy and Technology

The emergence of technology might have been regarded as a blessing to the modern generation, as evidenced by the ease of livelihood felt by people from using technological devices. However, one aspect of human life seems to be threatened by the perpetual emergence of technology – the constitutional right to privacy. Nowadays, people use technological means to save or even enter private information regarding their personal lives, professional lives, or even their business. Similarly, technological gadgets such as surveillance cameras have been installed in almost every location, which has made it quite difficult for people to go by their private lives without fear of intimidation by such cameras of the feeling that they are being monitored in one way or another. Technologies such as social media have even begun to be used in the medical sector, which is such a danger to the privacy of medical information. According to Antheunis et al., this technology helps in “…improving the efficiency. This motive not only refers to cost reduction by using the Internet for health-related reasons but also to improving the quality of healthcare, for example by the possibility to compare different health care providers on the Internet.” As such, private patient information has been left exposed. In this line, this paper presents a comprehensive argument on the adverse effects of technology on privacy and freedom, particularly in the professional, business, and individual lives. The paper presents three arguments: the negative effects of technology on the privacy of personal information, private communications, and workplace/public interactions.

Effect of Technology on Privacy of Personal Information

The current generation operates on almost everything that is technological, which in one way or another captures personal information about people. From the credit cards, people use their telephone bills, their private information is captured. Additionally, people’s credit file carries personal financial information about them. Simple tasks such as sending emails to people also expose significant information about people to the Internet. Although the risks to privacy may not be very obvious, any persons with ill intentions may retrieve the information contained in the sources described above to harm people in one way or another. They may encroach into their personal financial lives, for fraudulent purposes. In 2007, alone, approximately 127 million sensitive paper and electronic records that contained Social Security numbers and other similar information were lost or hacked. These statistics were a record increase in data breaches by a whopping 650% from the previous year. In the same year, a retail firm by the name TJX reported that their systems had been hacked leading 94 million and 45 million debit- and credit cards being stolen, respectively, which is regarded as a landmark data breach in American history.

In another incident of fraud, the British government reported having lost nearly computer discs in 2007. These computer discs purportedly contained personal information for 25 million people, close to half the nation’s total population. The looming merger between DoubleClick, which is an Internet ad company and Google, has sparked worry amongst some privacy advocates who feel that such a partnership would be a threat to individual privacy. According to these privacy advocates, this partnership could presage a period in which firms may periodically eavesdrop on people’s phone calls and their e-mails for purposes of personalizing with incredible precision. Another technological feature that is equally a danger to individual privacy is the Beacon feature by Facebook. This feature notifies users in case their friend’s purchase products from Facebook affiliates. In this case, it is evident that the information age is marred by breach of privacy to the extent that even personal things such as shopping habits are publicly displayed. Due to an outrage from users, Facebook opted to use Beacon as an opt-in service although there were demands to drop altogether.

The protection of private information has been a pressing issue for lawmakers in the United States, particularly. The principal deputy director of National Intelligence in America, Donald Kerr expressed worries that the effort to ensure the privacy of information may prove quite intimidating in view of the kind of technological advancements that people apply in their everyday lives. Typically, every action taken by individuals leaves a trace of personal information, which may be exposed to unauthorized personnel that may use them for fraudulent practices. Privacy advocates have long expressed concerns about the effect of technological advancements on the private lives of individuals. Most of them have projected an era in which governments and corporations can potentially access people’s private information readily given the traces of personal information people leave during their day-to-day actions.

Numerous legislations have been passed forth over years to protect the privacy of information for the people in the United States. While some of these amendments are federal, others are state-based. The most notable legislation in history is the 1974 Privacy Act of 1974. This law forbids the disclosure of particular federal records, which may contain sensitive personal information about individuals. Although this legislation became effective in the following years, the emergence of amendments on exceptions to this law has rendered it ineffective. The limitations are so many that the law has been termed as just a mere legislation that has no notable impact on protecting private information. In view of this flaw in the legislation, there have been numerous incidences of privacy breach. As such, no information regarding the individual lives of people is safe regardless of whether it is in the hand of the government or corporations.

Another act meant to safeguard the private information of individuals is the 1994 Driver’s Privacy Protection Act. This enactment was informed by a series of grave criminal activities that occurred in 1989, which were attributed to the Department of Motor Vehicles. As such, the law prohibited the DMV from releasing private information that may be used to cause any form of harm. However, like the Privacy Act, the effectiveness of this legislation is hampered by the various exemptions outlined in the clause, which totals up to fourteen. One exemption, which has been of concern regarding privacy of information, is the one that permits licensed private investigators to access personal information in cases where the purpose they serve is outlined in the other thirteen exemptions. This exemption resulted in the murder of a famous actress Rebecca Schaeffer after an obsessed fan retrieved her home address from her DMV records, tracking her down and killing her.

In this case, it is imperative that the release of personal information saved on technological devices such as the DMV records can put the lives of people in danger. DMV records and other technological means that save the people’s locations, whether their places of works or homes are a breach of privacy. In the event that individuals with ill intentions access such information, they may use them to create harm or commit fraud.

An essential gadget used in the contemporary generation is the cell phone. Although everyone has his or her own cellphone, it is not a guarantee that the information kept on these cell phones is safe. On the contrary, it is actually not given that the information kept on such cell phones is not at the discretion of holder but rather at the discretion of the cell phone company and the service providers. Ideally, every time one needs to purchase a cell phone, it is almost obligatory to present some form of identification, which the cell phone companies claim to use for tracking the cell phones in case they get lost. By submitting personal information such as identification cards, the cell phone holder exposes private information that may end up in the hands of unscrupulous individuals. The other threat to privacy occurs in the service providers that keep records of all calls made and received. Additionally, the cell phones themselves are designed to give away the location of the cell phone holders.

As Price states, “Since 1999, the Federal Communications Commission has required that all new cell phones in the U.S. use some form of locating technology that makes it possible to find them within 1,000 feet 95 percent of the time; the technology works as long as your phone is on, even if it isn’t being used”. The argument for such technology is that it assists 911 responders in the attempt to locate the cell phone holder in case of emergency. Although the technology is used for locating people during emergencies, the applications are increasingly expanding. Most advertisers have begun using the cell phone GPS for sending text-message coupons for luring potential customers passing by into their stores. Services such as Buddy Beacon and Loopt also capitalize on the cell phone signals and GPS technology by allowing users to view maps that depict the locations of their friends. These technological advancements make it quite difficult for people to keep their location private since in one way, or another someone is capable of capturing their location.

Effect of Technology on Privacy of Private Communications

By definition, privacy in private communications refers to all forms of privacy issues in personal communication that people may wish to keep private. However, personal communication occurs over technological channels that include emails, the social networks, phone calls, and other means of communications. Although the companies that own these communication channels such as Google may guarantee total privacy, privacy advocates have expressed concern that other unauthorized personnel may access such communications. From sending a simple text message, making a phone call to sending emails, every communication that people may perceive as private may just leave traces of information, which is an encroachment on privacy since such information may be accessible to other people who may use them for ill intentions.

Although people have thought of techniques to withhold their private information, it is increasingly becoming a daunting task. For instance, one may opt to hide their caller identity through the phone settings so that the number would be hidden every time a call is placed. Another technique is to buy a prepaid calling card. However, the service providers have the capacity to retrieve the identity of the caller by triangulating on the location of the caller using the GPS technology. In so doing, such communications no longer become private. Ideally, cell phone holders have no freedom to conduct any private communication since the service providers have the authoritative capacity to monitor such communications or any other electronic communications for that matter.

While hiding identity on the cell phone is cumbersome, hiding any activity over the Internet is almost impossible. As such, every time a user accesses the Internet, the corresponding Internet service provider (ISP) detects that such user is online and keeps track of all activities. Price highlights in her piece that “In 2005, the European Parliament passed legislation requiring phone and Internet providers to retain records of calls and online activity for between six months and two years. In 2006, the–U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller met privately with America’s major ISPs to request that they, too, hold on to these records for two years”. Cookies are a feature of the Internet that keeps records of all the activities conducted online that include usernames, passwords, and any sent emails- among other private communications. Even the searches conducted over the Internet are stored in the cookies and may be retrieved at any time. The fact that online communications cannot be kept private, and somehow someway there is always a record of any online activities conducted even instigated the creation of web erasers that delete searches automatically within a prescribed time. Even when a user sends an unencrypted e-mail, there is a possibility that it skilled hackers could intercept and read it. Additionally, the e-mail may be stored permanently on a server despite deleting it. The Web sites on the Internet routinely keep information on the duration of time spent on given webpages and even the number of mouse clicks made.

Effect of Technology on Privacy and Freedom of Workplace/Public Interaction

When at work or just walking around, there are instances where people want to keep their privacy. However, this is not to be the case in the face of increasing use of video and audio surveillance using state-of-art cameras and audio devices capable of capturing every small bit of activity, whether at work or in the public arena. According to Price, “surveillance is a fact of our electronic society”. No matter how private one needs to be, there is always a high possibility that one is being tracked. As such, people have become so open to government and other surveillance agencies that it has become difficult to so anything private without being monitored. Although video and audio surveillance have proved beneficial, it is increasingly encroaching on the constitutional rights. The United Kingdom, which is small compared to the U.S, has nearly 4 million surveillance cameras. It implies that the U. S has more cameras while more are being added day by day. For instance, the New York City Police Department looks to add 3,000 private and public surveillance cameras to boost security. It means that every American walking on the streets is likely to be monitored by the government.

Besides privacy, technological advancements have had a great impact on people’s freedom, particularly in public places. It is not that technology directly prevents people from doing what they want but rather the corresponding effects of being glued to technological devices while in public places. Jonathan Franken reiterates this concept in “I Just Called To Say I Love You.” Franzen illustrates numerous examples of the way various technologies offset the way people interacted or existed before. One of the technologies highlighted is airport television, which is a supposed nuisance. While it may entertain only a few people, the rest of the travelers busy with their traveling plans often feel bothered by these televisions.

With the emergence of smartphones, people have increasingly developed habits that affect the freedom of those around them. Even where there are many people standing or walking by it is possible to see a whole lot of people glued to their phones. Such habits are so distracting that they may affect the day-to-day lives of other people around the cellphone users. Franzen presents various scenarios to support the claim that many people in America and the world as a whole have developed a bad cell-phone behavior in which they never put the devices down regardless of where or the situation they find themselves in. Franzen highlights a scenario in which people in checkout line are too hooked on the phone conversations that they fail to speak to the clerk. In another example, drivers on a riding plane become distracted on their cellphones while driving. These examples further ascertain the claim that “One of the great irritations of modern technology is that when some new development has made my life palpably worse and is continuing to find new and different ways to bedevil it…”.

Privacy in public interactions can also be highlighted in view of the case of Kyllo v. the United States. In this case, the defendant Kyllo was arguing against the illegal warrantless use of the Thermal Imaging Technology to search his personal premises. The first court ruled in favor of the United States since the search results showed that the accused was actually dealing in marijuana and weapons. Although the Supreme Court ruled that, it would be considered constitutional if law enforcement agencies used Thermal Imaging technology to obtain information that may not be obtained while inside the premises, it was considered as a blow to privacy. If the law enforcement agencies used the technology, it would encroach on the privacy of citizens, especially in cases where the allegations laid is false.

In the workplace too, there is a threat to privacy posed by the technological advancements. For instance, employers have begun to install surveillance cameras, even in personal offices of employees. By doing this, the workers often feel that their privacy work is encroached, especially in areas that need proper attention. The employees, consequently, feel distracted by the thought of being monitored by the seniors. Although workplace surveillance may be regarded as an infringement of freedom and privacy, technological advancements such as e-mail monitoring have proved effective in protecting organizational interests. According to Cox, Goette, and Young, “Organizations must secure sensitive company information, including trade secrets, intellectual property, and customer, employee, and financial data.”. The importance is also highlighted in New York Times that states, “Mr. Sullivan is the one using software to monitor workers. For example, he said, the data might show that someone who is efficient at serving several tables is not very good at sales if that person’s average ticket is less than the restaurant’s.”

Conclusion

Modern technology has culminated in significant challenges to civil liberties such as freedom and privacy, which may not have been envisioned by constitutional framers and other policymakers alike. A host of technological advancements in the current world makes it easier for employers, government agencies, and other interested parties to know the things people do or even their thoughts. They include DNA fingerprinting, duplication of copyrighted computer files, monitoring of electronic communications, and audio/video surveillance- among other innovations. The public has greatly commended these innovations in the effort to reduce terrorism and many criminal activities. However, the continued emergence and the permission to use these technological innovations are a threat to the constitutional liberties of most Americans, who are mostly champions of their rights. The overindulgence of these technological innovations into the lives of the citizens makes it difficult for them to lead private lives since in one way or another one’s information is readily accessible to those interested. Therefore, it is arguable that the continued use of technology may impact negatively on privacy and freedom of Americans and other people around the globe.

science

Organizational Reorganization: A Case Study of LaCroix Limited

Signs Indicating the Problems that Existed At the Lacroix Limited

There was nothing more captivating to the founder of the LaCroix Industries, Gilles, as a quality, diligently crafted wood frame window. However, the signs that pointed towards the beginning of problems at the corporation became apparent when the management decided to employ a new leadership style.

When the founder, Gilles, decided to work on the expansion of the organization to other regions, he focused his concentration on the survival and success of the Company and therefore he consulted his employees and together they arrived at a complex decision of selling a huge share to the Build-All Product Inc., which is a multinational corporation with an extensive experience in transnational marketing of construction products. Due to the magnitude and the complexity of this step, LaCroix was almost entirely engrossed with the developers which prompted the hiring of a new VP, who managed production, and that marked the beginning of the negative changes that were noted. The symptoms included;

  • The deviation from the company’s initial goal of quality to concentration on the strict alterations regarding routine production processes.
  • A reduced concentration on inventory controls due to demanding inventory guidelines which provided stern procedures regarding the use of supplies for every period.
  • The reduction of employee motivation which made most of them quit.
  • Increased number of defective windows collected from the wholesalers and developers.

Causes of Underlying Problems from a Leadership Perspective

The main reasons why the company faced reduced staff motivation and reduced quality of products were because of the negative change in direction, a change introduced by Vlodoski, who was the new VP.

  • Previously, the corporation had been using a very effective style of transformational leadership which made the employees very motivated, engaged and contented with their lines of duty.
  • The leadership style employed by Vlodoski tampered with employees’ engagement. The new VP did not use a participative style of leadership which called for employees’ involvement in critical decision-making Lacrosse freely and occasionally chatted with his employees amidst brief visits to the corporation; he thanked them for the hard work and commitments, their views regarding the best way forward for the company and any other issue where he might have needed feedback on.
  • The new VP, on the other hand, did not exhibit any commitment to the company’s vision of ensuring super quality windows. He employed a style of leadership which ignored the competencies and experience of the employees and the leader, therefore, kept on commanding them on what to do, where and when to perform their duties. The VP, therefore, initiated the responsibilities, the projects, and the ideas and forwarded them to the employees, after which he specified his desired parameters, standards and strict deadlines for each task.
  • The new VP was more interested in quantity, unlike Lacrosse who was committed to ensuring quality. This, therefore, showed conflicting visions. He forced the staff members to work under his rules, a procedure typical of the military leadership and traditional seniority-oriented line. Vladoski ignored all the procedures the employees were familiar with and applied his personal ideas, a step which resulted in the production of faulty windows.

Vladoski took away autonomy from the experts, introduced stern guidelines and to make matters worse; he never left his office. The employees were forced to quit, expressing the significance of effective styles of management and employee satisfaction. The new leadership did not value the employee feedbacks regarding the improvements necessary for continued success.

Redesigning Organizational Structure to Overcome the Obstacles

The LeCroix Limited Inc. organizational structure refers to the methods used for effective workflow, coordination, labor division, and communication powers which offer useful guidelines to the routine operations of the organization. The structure additionally dictates information and financial aspects among other priority components. Therefore, it is important to redesign the labor division aspect and coordination function to improve the operations of the company.

The company must ensure the appropriate and participative division of labor to the qualified personnel by setting up specialized departments to take care of quality control procedures and other metrics. Participative division of labor will make sure that employees are consulted, and therefore, they are allowed to specialize in jobs that best suit their professional expertise and interests. If this step is applied, the employees can quickly master their lines of duty and lots of time is saved from relocating from one duty place to another. Finally, appropriate and convenient labor division will save a lot of money that would otherwise be used to train the staff members.

On the other hand, effective coordination ensures that all the communication channels are open, and communication can freely flow all the levels of management. Proper and unrestricted coordination also necessitates a faster agreement on important decisions. Moreover, the company should only use job specialization to some extent to avoid complicating the coordination ability of the organization.

The team should also use a decentralized system of management; this system will ensure that more and more qualified and experienced employees are involved in decision-making processes. Decentralization will also lower the pressure encountered by top management and increase the ease, efficiency, and speed of coming up with better decisions.

What Gilles Should Do In the Prevailing Circumstance

Gilles should ensure the mentoring of leaders who are more focused on the perspectives of the employees regarding significant steps were taken by the organization. He should reinstate the participative and democratic leadership styles which involve the employees’ views and uphold respect that should be attributed to their expertise and professional experiences. He should continue to involve his employees in small friendly discussions, or even in breakfast parties like he did before. Additionally, he should also ensure that he rebuild the trust, and emotional connection he had with his employees before the coming in of the new VP by giving them his proposed future plans and asking them for their advice.

Gilles should breed creative collaborations for the active team works to be cultured once again. The team members and all other employees should be treated with respect in equal measures to enable them to have the satisfaction they deserve. Finally, Gilles should only look forward to partnering only with corporations or individuals who demonstrate absolute consistency with his primary goals and objectives. Therefore, before partnering, an extensive research should be carried out to ensure a business relationship like the one that existed with the Build-All company, does not repeat itself.

creation

The Creation of a Cluster of Wood and Technology

The creation of a group of wood and technology was the brainchild of Bolzano region.  Therefore, this project came in the wake of the intense lobby for the area to have a sustainable plan that would adequately meet the demands of its people.  The beginning of this project was small but expanded to a membership base off130 companies coming on board, slightly after three years of the project’s lifetime. The entry of corporates has led to an appreciable operation of the project.  Currently, the project has over 170 members drawn from the business body.  This project is firmly anchored on the precept of robustness to trigger growth, social and economic fulfillment to the citizens. Indeed, there is much to learn from this project as it will unfold in the subsequent sub-chapters.

Problems and ICT Project Development Architect

The wood and technology project is entrenched in providing the basic IT-Infrastructure to implement the project ideas. While the feasibility stage has been acrimoniously passed to have the project into play, the greatest hurdle comes to the identification of a robust system that will coordinate SME’s within the local community. This project is expected to be all-inclusive and will capture the smallest interest of the society, and transform them into viable business objectives. IT-systems would elaborately be possible upon implementation of simpler systems.

At the moment, the current system fails to meet the required interest of the users and is occasioned to multiple failures, thus subjecting the intended users to operational hurdles.  The design of a tailor-made ICT network seems to thwart the well-intended course of this project.  Therefore, the intervention of Cluster Alpine Network program would be the best solution to the hurdles that the project is likely to face, especially of its IT structure.  This platform would advocate for the development of five clusters run by the regional administrators in discharging roles attributed to the project’s scope line.  The cluster management team would then be charged with the running of communication and aligning of tasks within the select groups, before issuing their feedback to the primary Programme administrators.

Objectives of the Project

The development and implementation of the Cluster for Wood and Technology are spearheaded by the distinct purpose under which the project is construed. Thus, the primary significance of this project is initiated modernization and expansion of the market for various local enterprises.  Also, the entrenchment of a four-tire ICT framework is aimed at instilling precepts of technology transfer with the view of offering a platform for the identification of new products, the prerequisite know-how, as well as different production processes.  Also, this project, with the support of regional authority aims to offer the essential support for creating clusters, which often integrates cooperation as well as networking between SMEs, and the mainstream deployed for developmental exercises.

Success

The success of this project is inherent in its application and ability to meet the set objectives. Since it’s a one of a kind projects that is aimed at turning around the fate of the community, its application must be made by its stated objectives. The success of this project relates to the use of ICT platform that will divide the entire population into clusters of 60 individuals. Besides, the incorporation of a new position of cluster manager is expected to meet the full prospects of the project regarding its operationality and implementation.

Indeed, the success of this project depends on the implementation of the Alpine ICT infrastructure within its fold, and this will meet the full obligation of the project in transforming the lives of the community members.

The Alpine Cluster activity

The opportunity of being offered the innovative Actions program was to experiment the broad strategy of how well clusters of 60 individuals can be developed in the traditional sectors of the regional economy of Bolzano. By imagining that the general methodology adopted for the programme management was the same for a success of each area. The theoretical basis focused on the Porters model as a start point for the clustering activities, putting more emphasis on project management and training by use of local ICT tools. The regional authority launched and opened SMEs which submitted cooperation projects for innovation; eight projects were financed finally and that involved 28 companies in various fields of technology.

Strategy

By exploring South Tyrol, a small Alpine region consists of an employment rate of up to 100% was challenged with fragmentation and weak innovation profile. Considering all the challenges, a strategy based on the idea that without changing decentralization and traditional culture, it is possible to influence the regional economy in working on tangible factors related to human resources, ICT transfer, and enterprise management. To have a newly branded and close partnership between public and private partners, in the promotion of regional competitiveness, clusters have been identified as an appropriate way of providing companies with tools that are dynamic for a corporation, innovation, and qualification. Existing public policies to SMEs are necessary for regional authorities to reconsider in aiming to develop the more service-oriented system. Cluster Alpine network is founded on 3 pillars; 1) the creation of clusters of about 3-5 of at least 30 enterprises working on innovative topics; 2) Development of platforms for networking and services for SMEs in promoting contacts and synergies in developing relevant information to encourage specific know-how of ICT tools; 3) the qualification of entrepreneurs and cluster managers so as they improve their capacities in project management in various fields of marketing, networking, and cooperation, innovation and technology transfer.

To involve and to motivate the SMEs, cluster initiative policy ensures it is providing business-oriented actions and conclusive results. To achieve the results, the regional authorities have therefore launched three open calls for inviting SMEs to submit projects for innovation.

Innovation 

The wood sector is a combination of traditional handicrafts, and modern technologies and the markets have proved so crucial in the success of the innovation. Wood manufacture is mainly developed by family companies that are always looked upon to maintain folk traditions and values. The cooperation was put on the job of discovering topics that would complement the innovations such as well-being, sustainable buildings, light and acoustic optimization. Beyond ICT introduction, a significant change was cultural. Therefore, public policies in supporting SMEs and strengthening the ability of public/private partnerships to promote innovation were created. Furthermore, the University of Bolzano has created a two-year training course, “the Management Academy” which has developed an interest in the region.

Implementation

Wood and ICT has apparently been involved in sustaining clusters for principal concerns for the managers of the programme who decided to focus on well-established regional sectors. The Alpine Cluster Development Methodology adopted wood together with other areas which were structured in phases. The Cluster involved entrepreneurs from the beginning through various public campaigns that were organized, to encourage networking and recognizing new topic within the regional sector of the economy. Wood Technology Cluster was approved on July 8, 2008.

Conclusion

The wood sector is the proper choice for cluster development. It is important to focus on the subject so as to provide unique position, competence to companies to join the initiatives. When you react to the needs of the clusters and solve small but quite concrete problems, benefits are quickly realized. A right balance approach is a right way to develop cluster initiatives for innovation. Cluster management development is perceived to be management by trial and error.