Friday, September 05, 2014

A Dissenting View?

I just re-learned the same lesson all over again, iPads do not give me control over my mistakes!
There is no undo when editing text on an iPad in most contexts. Déjà Undo!? Why would I have clicked cancel, seriously! Why? Dear iPad, You should have at least checked with me before deleting 2 hours of contemplation!

Thus this will be a lesser post, a shadow of its former self, there will be some who celebrate that it will thus be shorter, but sadly it will also miss some key nuances that I have neither the wit nor the energy to reproduce.

@Henry Story just posted the largely excellent BBC Horizon program on the dark web. It started off focussing on the important issue of being in control, but sadly for me weakened with a conclusion that focused on the "Online Privacy" meme.

Privacy is simply an outcome of choosing not to be transparent, in effect choosing to close the curtain to the internet. (Aside: Can there ever really be a curtain to the internet, or perhaps a better question is should there be?) Privacy is arguably a transient result of living in a global village that has not yet achieved the transparency that was the norm in earlier villages, in that bygone era before the internet.

I would have concluded with a piece that highlights the importance of the layers that give us the ability to be in control. Let's consider the problem using Maslows approach to the Heirarchy of needs. Assuming that we agree that having some degree of privacy is of value, to achieve that...
We need to have the choice of privacy or transparency... to achieve that...
The digital agents that act on our behalf should respond to our intent, in short we should have agency over our agents. achieve that...
We must be able exert control over said digital agents (which are invariably embodied on devices) achieve that...
We must be able to trust the devices that are a part of a developing set of digital fabrics achieve that...
We must be able to exert control over said digital fabrics, (some of which are not owned by us) achieve that...&
We must be able to trust the ecosystem that supports the digital fabrics, and that ecosystem must be able to identify us achieve these thing...
We must have the right to be in control of our digital environment, and our digital identities (persona)

In short we should have the right to have digital agency over the digital fabricswe interact with.

We have a long way to go to achieve this....

Today we are all poorly served by our politicians, who have become focused on the Privacy Meme

When what we really need is control...  ie having that Digital Agency over those Digital Fabrics.

On Privacy: we are fast approaching a time when the last thing the world needs is an excess of privacy. For there are some bad people in the world who thrive on fear and the ability to act often secretly against individuals that dare to stand up to them. There was a time in my life when I chose to publically stand up to a bully, with a large part of the school watching. I was soundly beaten for my action, but the act triggered others to do the same and the harsh light of transparency caused the bully to be controlled by the majority. It was a proud, as well as bruised time in my young life, which taught me that private timidity, ie keeping ones head down, was not always the right thing to do. There are those in the world who purport to be for example Christian, Russian or Muslim, but who are currently using fear and "privacy" to act against society. Often they cover their faces, to ensure their privacy, whether the Ukrainian sepperatists, or ISIL fighters, or the actors on the Dark Web, they are fighting against our collective right to self determination or agency.

Let us focus on arguing for Digital Rights that are far wider than Privacy Rights, which would give us the right to chose to act for the good of society, as well as ourselves. Then let's focus on ensuring that the digital fabrics of our society support these rights, to do this they will need to be designed from the outset to be secure and trustworthy!

Please, it is not all about Privacy, being in control or having digital agency is far more important.

Yes I am like a scratched record, but apparently I am not getting the message across!

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Who should control your digital fabric?

A new sort of fabric is coming, or for some has come, into being; a digital or cyber fabric. There are going to be a number of types of digital fabric. The term is starting to be used to describe a digitally connected environment, owned by a specific stakeholder, and incorporating their digital devices and all manner of "Things". The key question for these stakeholders is who will be in control of this fabric. The race is on to attain that control, directly out of the hands of the owning stakeholders, often without their knowledge, and frequently without their considered decision.

Many enterprises are starting to understand the need to develop digital strategies. The outcome of an effective digital strategy is being referred to as Digital Mastery. Digital Mastery will not be possible without effective control of a stakeholder's digital fabric.

Digital Fabric is being and will be implemented at many levels, in many spaces from cities to countries; From offices, and laboratories to factory floors. From shopping centres to distribution centres. From individuals to the homes of their extended family. Digital Fabrics will be overlapping and interconnected, but most importantly they should be secure and easily controllable.

The resulting fabric(s) will have many labels, for example the fabric covering the offices, laboratories and factories of a company will likely be called Industrial Fabric. The challenge for fabric owning stakeholders, whether organisations or individuals, will be to achieve the appropriate control over a specific fabric designed and composed to meet their needs.

There is a group of organisations that understand the importance of building, connecting, and controlling these different digital fabrics.

Country Fabric
Industrial Fabric
Transport Fabric
City Fabric
Consumer Fabric
Vehicle Fabric
Domestic or Home Fabric
Personal Fabric

Sadly for most organisations and individuals they have not experienced, nor do they understand the importance or value of a coherent well architected / designed digital fabric. Most are suffering from a patchwork approach to the development of their digital fabric. This is caused by component and device manufacturers or service providers bringing their own silo-based approach to the development of digital fabric.

An effective digital fabric can be said to be in place when all the relevant digital entities, and real entities which are connected to the fabric can achieve their desired outcomes securely, quickly, easily and at low transaction cost. Simply connecting your computers to a network, does not create a digital fabric.

Does your Digital Strategy specify the need to be in control of YOUR digital fabric?

Have you considered the importance and value of leaving your partners and customers in control of their digital fabrics?

How should these digital fabrics connect, you ask?

Well, that's where you have identified the need for an e-trust ecosystem.

And probably the most important thing you have realised is that you should be in control of all your things, both digital and real, that compose your digital fabric. Perhaps you have also started to think that all your real things should be represented by digital things. If so, you may be starting to understand the power and value of a digital fabric.

So start designing and building your digital fabric now! Perhaps more importantly should you help your customers implement theirs?

So, YOU can be in control of your Things, rather than others, and your customers can be in control of theirs.

As an aside I connected my Samsung TV to the internet again today, and despite my taking care to maintain control, Samsung again demonstrated that they think that it is their Thing, not mine. For despite skipping the software update step when I connected the TV to the web, just as I switched to viewing the TV, Samsung forced a software update on the device. Nor could I find a way to delete my Wifi password from the TV, once I had entered it. Worse they think that the idea of providing a "single-sign-on" service by capturing my facebook and email passwords is a secure one. Samsung are trying to force me onto "their" digital fabric. You may have spotted that Samsung are buying Smart Things for $200M, a move to extend their digital fabric into our homes? They are not the only one's who are aiming to own our digital fabrics, think Apple, Amazon, Google Microsoft et al

Finally what are the best types of fabrics, will they be open, or closed, perimeterised or deperimeterised, internal or external. Perhaps it is best you decide before you build yours!