Editor's Page

By Smith, Michael Franklin | Defense Counsel Journal, October 2017 | Go to article overview

Editor's Page


Smith, Michael Franklin, Defense Counsel Journal


Michael Franklin Smith

Michael Franklin Smith is the current Editor and Chair of the Board of Editors for the Defense Counsel Journal. He is a shareholder at McAfee & Taft and a member of the IADC.

Time marches on and I have the wrinkles to prove it. And with every passing day, technology advances at an exponential rate that can make your head spin. Technology can provide tools to help us maintain privacy if we are diligent. That same technology, however, makes it practically impossible for anyone to actually have complete privacy. The smartphone was, and still is, an amazing technological advancement that has changed our everyday lives in ways we never could have imagined. But we have moved far beyond smartphones in ways that I failed to truly appreciate until recently.

Did you know, for example, that modern vehicles can communicate with smartphones and other devices connected to the internet-of-things to share personal information? It is true. There is more information about you out there readily available to others than you probably realize. To make matters more concerning, corporations and individuals, criminals or otherwise, can access and exploit that information through the connections made possible through the internet-of-things.

Some of that exploitation is harmless. Through the swirl of information that is out there, retailers create targeted advertising based on consumers' shopping habits. For example, I can use my debit card to purchase my favorite mouthwash one month at my local drugstore. Upon my subsequent return, at checkout after using the same debit card, the cashier will give me a receipt for my purchase with a coupon for my favorite mouthwash. That retailer knows, based on data connected to my debit card, that out of the thousands of products available for purchase at that drugstore, I have previously purchased, and therefore am likely to purchase again, a specific product. That is just one example of targeted marketing brought to you through the personal data that is available.

My 2016 model year pickup truck now communicates with my smartphone Monday through Friday, shortly after starting my pickup, a message flashes on my smartphone advising me of the best route for me to drive to the office based on the current traffic. I did not ask my truck and phone to communicate, memorize my routine driving habits, and advise me on traffic patterns. The first time it happened, I was a little freaked out. Now, as soon as I start my truck, I check my phone to see what kind of traffic I am likely to experience on my drive to the office. …

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