Reverse 911: Public Safety Edges Privacy

In case of an emergency agencies need to be able to contact residents.

The job of contacting residents when a possible emergency arises is hampered for government agencies by  technological advancements like mobile phones. This questions the effectiveness of agencies. Paul Suarez a Columbian reporter said in a recent article that warning for residents has become more difficult because they are using less phone lines and more are using their cell phones more often.

One example lately was a small gas leak in Battle Ground that made officials notify citizens of danger even though the affected area was not of a larger scale and should have not been notified on a large scale.

reverse 911 photo
Photo by ResoluteSupportMedia

The Clark Regional Emergency Agency started using a reverse 911 service for phone numbers that are registered in an area to be called with a warning message although not many people use landlines these days and only so many could be called using the reverse 911.

People using cellphones, smartphones, or internet lines can be called using reverse cell phone services if they are registered although most do not. John Wheeler coordinator of emergency management for CRESA says there is no sure way to reach those people through reverse cell phone services.

It seems with most people having reliable communications these days that they could be contacted more easily with reverse 911 if the service also included mobile devices in addition to land lines.

Sometimes not reaching people could be a good thing because of privacy issues that are much needed these days. Author Ayn Rand said many years ago that Civilization is progressing toward a society with out privacy,  you might  agree with that quote today.

Officials from the government have to be careful on the issues between privacy and what is best for the public. For small gas leaks like in Battle Ground, it was considered minor but could have been more of an issue and could have been threatening.

CRESA officials say that cell phones are the future of technology and will need to deliver the warnings. Although people are concerned about privacy and unwanted messages could be an issue.

Those concerns will need to be addressed but for now, it is important that residents be alerted for emergencies. If you decide to register a cellphone to get warnings, you can visit . Additional details about the Reverse 911 service can be found at .

Everyone should register a phone number to be alerted during an emergency and to be safe.

Mobile Apps Meet Privacy & Security Concerns Among Consumers

Geolocation sharing services like foursquare, MyTown, Loopt, and others have been getting a lot of press lately in marketing circles.  Geolocation is still in early adoption stages, but it is growing rapidly among mobile users.  Unfortunately, privacy concerns are growing with it.  You might think that the eagerness of location sharers to distribute data about their lives to other users and to companies is a sign of ignorance or unconcern, but it is neither.  These users are choosing to accept a certain loss of privacy in return for certain benefits. But, they expect certain boundaries to be observed.

Below you can see the results of a study by privacy services TRUSTe and Harris Interactive.  The smartphone owners they surveyed stated that they were most concerned about their privacy.

The reason that these users agree to participate in many apps with advertisers is because they still feel as though they understand the agreement and are in control of the situation.  In fact, 36% of the survey participants said that they felt in control of their personal information.  How do participants assure themselves?  By setting strong passwords and by reading privacy policies thoroughly before opting in or signing up, users feel safe.

Even though other surveys show that many mobile device users could potentially be interested in opting into advertisements which target their location based on tracking data, three quarters of the population surveyed in this study indicated that tracking by advertisers disturbed them.

Mobile Apps Meet Privacy
Photo by IntelFreePress

White iPhone 4 displayed at a Softbank mobile store in Omotesando, Tokyo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mobile privacy and security issues will only continue to receive more attention and press as mobile location sharing services grow into the mainstream, particularly with the opening of Facebook Places, which is introducing location sharing to more and more users.  Just a couple weeks ago, there was a lot of press surrounding a log file that tracks and records the movements of the iPhone it resides on.  If a person should acquire the iPhone, he can view all this tracking data unencrypted, and discover the movements of the iPhone (and its user) since the log file was introduced onto the device.

In reality, this problem has been in existence for a long time.  In the past, it was revealed that government agencies make regular use of these types of log files in mobile phones to find out where users have been and what they have been doing.  These searches are often conducted illegally without a warrant.

When a user signs up for an app and reads the privacy policy, it may include an agreement to be tracked by the company.  What it does not include is an agreement to submit to illegal search and seizure by the government.  These are the kinds of fears that permeate the consciousness of a mobile user though, and not unreasonably.

What this means is that until these broader legal dilemmas are more resolved, mobile users will be concerned about privacy and security issues; tracking in particular.  This doesn’t stop a lot of people from signing up or opting into apps with companies which track movements though.

If you are starting a geolocation campaign, it is crucial that you understand the privacy and security concerns of your patrons and that you take steps to protect their privacy.  Make it very clear in your user agreement what your policies are and how you are protecting the security of mobile users.  Let them know that you share their concerns.

Mobile users can benefit from geolocation targeted advertising.  The tricks is to make sure that they are benefiting from it, will ensuring their data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Spencer Belkofer is a blogger, researcher, and follower of anything related to Internet marketing. He recently founded Lumin, an Alabama-based Internet marketing firm. Lumin has recently included infographic design as one of it’s service offerings.

Related articles

Social Networking Ethics

Social Networking Ethics

Patient privacy is an area in which medical professionals are obligated to protect. It is vital to any health care organization that the patient’s private information is safe and secure. Patients trust health care organizations with some of their most private information and have confidence in the organization that their information will not be shared with other individuals or organizations. Health care professionals are trained to handle the information and protect each individual patient that they assist. With the creation of such social networking sites as Facebook and Twitter, health care professionals are starting to discuss work related issues on the internet. This is one area that is starting to become more of a problem than most people realized. Social networking sites are a way for individuals to connect all over the world and almost anyone can have access to the information that is shared on social networking profiles.

Social Networking Ethics
Photo by jennychamux

Most everyone in the United States are using social networking sites to reach out to family, friends, co-workers, and other professionals. These social networking sites have grown to be a part of our daily lives and we are using them for work and personal gains. Medical professionals and students are starting to use these social networking sites to post pictures and statuses of their everyday life. These pictures and statuses are on their personal profiles, but can contain information from other people’s life. Many students feel they are entitled to post what they wish on their personal profiles, maintaining that the information is in fact personal and not subject to the same policies and guidelines that govern their professional behavior on campus (Park, 2009). This is becoming more of an issue since medical professionals and students are posting information or pictures from patients they are assisting.

At UCLA, Dr. Parker has assigned a task force, which includes students, to devise guidelines that students can follow when making decisions about what to post and what to keep to themselves. “It’s going to be difficult,” he says. “Most students want us to provide them with education and guidelines, but not policies. It is a different culture; we always say we have to be culture-sensitive to our patients, but we have to be culture-sensitive to our students as well” (Park, 2009). This is a key element in how the future of our nation will be. We will have to adapt to social networking sites and how we interact with other individuals. While social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have bad reputations from some people, it also is there to reach more individuals in a shorter amount of time. Doctors are able to reach out to other doctors from around the world in a matter of seconds. This allows health care professionals to ask questions or get advice from other professionals when they need it the most.

While we adapt to these social networking sites, we also have to be aware of any ethical and legal issues that may arise. It is vital that professionals do not use any of the patient’s personal information or photographs of their face if they do post anything on Facebook or Twitter. If they are reaching out to ask advice or post a picture, they can do so without causing any damage to the patient. Health care professionals have to be aware of the state and federal laws that they could break if they post information about the patient such as name, social security number, address, test results, and etc. Social networking sites can help health care professionals, but it is imperative that the patient’s well-being and trust are honored first. Health care professionals have to respect each patient’s personal information and ensure that they are not posting information related to the patient.

It is essential that supervisors and managers explain the importance of protecting the patient’s personal information. Managers should have meetings with the employees and explain to them how to be professional on social networking sites as Facebook and Twitter. It is vital that each employee understands the significance of the repercussions of their acts if they post patient’s personal information on these social networking sites. Managers should go over the ethical issues that can arise if the professional does post inappropriate information. Managers should also go over the state and federal laws that they must uphold to each patient. Patients can sue the organization and the employee if their information gets posted to social networking sites. There can be many other legal issues that can arise if the organization does not control what is posted on their employee’s social networking profile.

One major solution that can keep health care organizations on top of what their health care professionals post on social networking sites is to have access to their social networking profile. They should be able to see what each employee of the organization posts each day and have it where it is mandatory that each employee allow the organization to see their profile. This can entail having the organization have its own profile page that employees can be friends with. This is a way where the organization can see the employee’s personal page, without violating any of the personal privacy. There should also be rules and regulations that each employee must uphold if the employee chooses to have a social networking profile. It is vital to the organization that each employee that is among the organization understands how to properly use social networking sites.

Health care organizations have to adapt to the changes of the way individuals are interacting with each other. Social networking sites have become a part of everyone’s daily lives and it has raised more challenges for health care organizations to monitor. Health care professionals and students are using the social networking sites to talk about professional information to other individuals. This can be done without causing any problems for the health care organizations or its employees if the social networking sites are monitored and each individual employee knows how to properly use them. It is up to the managers of the health care organizations to explain and set forth rules and regulations when using these social networking sites. These social networking sites can help employees discuss research and other various situations in the health care industry, but it is imperative that they use their best judgment and protect the patient’s personal information when doing so.

Citations:
  • (Park, 2009)

Brandon is a junior in college studying in the health care industry field. He already has one degree in Pharmacy Practice and is studying for his second one in Health care information systems. He is the owner of a Lift Kits website that sells Tuff Country Lift Kits. He enjoys school and working on his site, but he does enjoy relaxing more.

 

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