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DoJ Throws a Couple of Bones, Tech Firms Back Off
January 28, 2014
The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday announced two new options for tech companies to report on government requests for information about their customers. In response, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, LinkedIn and Yahoo withdrew their lawsuits against the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court over the issue. The five said they would "continue to encourage Congress to take additional steps."
Worried Retail Shoppers Bury Heads in Sand
January 28, 2014
Consumers are getting increasingly nervous over retailers' ability to protect their personal data -- yet they are not changing their shopping habits, according to findings from an AP-GfK poll. In the wake of the Target breach, nearly half of those surveyed expressed extreme concern about their personal data while shopping in stores, and 58 percent had deep worries about online spending.
Neiman Marcus Alerts Customers to Hack Attack
January 24, 2014
Neiman Marcus has announced that some 1.1-million customer credit and debit cards may have been exposed in a hack attack. The retailer was first alerted to the intrusion at the beginning of the year. It appears that "sophisticated, self-concealing malware" able to obtain payment card information was active in the company's systems between July 16 and Oct. 30, 2013, CEO Karen Katz said.
Privacy Board Urges Shutdown of 'Illegal' NSA Data Dig
January 23, 2014
The United States National Security Agency should end its controversial bulk telephone metadata collection program, recommended the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. The board's report, issued Thursday, says Section 215 of the U.S. Patriot Act, which provides the foundation for the NSA's authority, "does not provide an adequate legal basis to support the program."
Nest CEO Promises to Preserve Privacy
January 21, 2014
Nest CEO Tony Fadell took on one of the many lingering questions about Google's $3.2 billion acquisition of the company: What will become of its privacy policy? Any changes to Nest's privacy policy will be opt-in, and the company will be "transparent" about those changes to its users, Fadell promised. This assurance from Fadell is almost as significant as Google's acquisition of Nest.
Wife of Indian Minister Dead After Exposing Husband on Twitter
January 20, 2014
The wife of Shashi Tharoor, an Indian minister and member of parliament, was found dead in a luxury hotel in New Delhi days after exposing her husband's alleged infidelity via Twitter. The cause of death is not known, but a forensic expert reportedly dubbed it a "sudden, unnatural death." Private messages between Tharoor and a Pakistani journalist popped up on Tharoor's Twitter account Wednesday.
PowerLocker Takes Ransomware to a New Level
January 13, 2014
Up to now, the malware program CryptoLocker has been king of the ransomware roost, but PowerLocker may present a new challenge. "It has some interesting countermeasures to thwart researchers," said Harry Sverdlove, CTO of Bit9. Among those countermeasures are the ability to determine if it's running on a virtual machine -- and if so, to alter its behavior.
Other Shoe Drops in Target Customer Data Breach
January 10, 2014
The security breach that initially appeared to affect as many as 40 million customers may put many more at risk, Target revealed Friday. In addition to accessing those customers' payment card data, hackers stole the names, mailing addresses, phone numbers or email addresses for up to 70 million people. The personal data theft was uncovered in the investigation of the payment card data heist.
Was 2013 the Run-Up to Nineteen Eighty-Four?
December 23, 2013
It is time to look back on 2013 and consider what we've learned about technology and human nature. Both Apple and Dell were massively changed, and Google went from a company that wanted our private information to one that wanted our jobs. The U.S. government decided, through the NSA, that laws don't apply to it. Those who brought this to our attention got big punishments.
5 Winning PCI 3.0 Ways
December 21, 2013
As most security and compliance pros already know, PCI 3.0 is now officially out. The specific changes it includes have already been covered in quite a bit of detail elsewhere in the industry press, so I won't cover them all again here. However, one area that is often less discussed is how to use these changes to carve out resources for things that also have benefits more generally.
Verizon to Disclose Some of What It's Disclosing to the Government
December 20, 2013
Verizon on Thursday said it will release a semiannual report about the data requests it receives from the government. It is the first major telecom to make such a move. Verizon and other tech industry giants have come under fire for cooperating with government surveillance programs. Verizon and AT&T in particular were named in documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Microsoft Cranks Up Security to Lock Out Government Spies
December 05, 2013
Microsoft is taking steps to make its customers' data more secure in the wake of revelations about government spying. The company was implicated in NSA snooping operations after former government contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents related to the agency's activities earlier this year. Government spying on Microsoft's servers constitutes a persistent threat, said General Counsel Brad Smith.
Top of the Funnel
December 04, 2013
The new customer era accepts that the direct contact between a vendor and customer or potential customer is being augmented by non-human intermediaries like websites, software robots that triage customer issues, e-commerce systems, social media, and who knows what else. The good news is that customers leave data trails like ants leave trails of pheromones to a candy bar on a sidewalk.
Dreamforce Debriefing
November 26, 2013
OK, we survived Dreamforce and that has enabled us to limp home exhausted by all the information we accumulated and the parties we attended just in time for the holidays. I have a lot of thoughts about the show. If I try to share most of them, the result will be a stream-of-conscious rant that will make little sense, so some discipline is in order.
Nimble Spreads Its Social Wings
November 11, 2013
Before speaking with a reporter recently about the latest upgrade to his company's CRM platform, Nimble CMO Eric Quanstrom ate his own cooking, so to speak: that is, he used Nimble to learn as much about her as possible. A few keystrokes later, he knew where she went to school, her hometown, other business affiliations and that she was an avid tweeter.
Harvest Customer Intelligence Through Smart Surveying
November 07, 2013
Satisfaction surveys can be much more than a yardstick to measure customer opinion or an extra channel for customer support. The optimal survey presents an opportunity to uncover important insights about your business process and drive real improvements in the organization. Before you can start reaping the customer intelligence benefits that result, however, you have to lay the right groundwork.
Apple Lifts Veil of Secrecy in Transparency Report
November 06, 2013
Apple has published its first transparency report, highlighting the number of government requests it has received for customer data. However, government regulations prevented it from disclosing specific numbers of U.S. law enforcement requests. Facebook, Yahoo and Google issued similar transparency reports soon after they were implicated in the initial wave of NSA surveillance allegations.
Mobile CRM's Next Battleground: Point of Sale
October 22, 2013
Some brands' mobile CRM efforts amount essentially to creating versions of their websites that are visually friendly to mobile users. Others make mobile an integral part of their CRM strategies. Case in point: Arby's, which earlier this month debuted a new item on its menu -- the Smokehouse Brisket Sandwich -- with a campaign that involved a number of social media components.
Huawei: No One Bothers Us for Data
October 18, 2013
Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, long suspected of being in cahoots with Beijing authorities, said Friday that no government has ever asked it to divulge information about citizens. Translation: Anyone concerned about government meddling should be more concerned with Washington's connections to U.S. companies than Beijing's connection to Huawei. It called for global standards on security.
Make Every Employee an Ambassador - Not a Salesperson
October 18, 2013
One of the phrases CRM vendors love to toss around these days is this saw: "CRM makes every employee a salesperson." I'm sure the VP of sales loves this vision, in which he suddenly is served by a quadrupled or quintupled number of salespeople, many of whom he doesn't have to manage and to whom he doesn't have to pay commission. The idea is a canard. It's a sham.

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