We at Ongig found it very interesting that in the same week Fast Company listed Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple as the four most innovative companies, two of those listed made front page headlines relating to privacy concerns. There is no doubt that these four companies have literally changed the way people live their lives on a daily basis. They have not just transformed the tech industry, but changed the way humans interact with their friends, how they make purchases, find information, etc.
Big Brother Google?
The Wall Street Journal made a troubling discovery that Google had hacked together a way to bypass the security measures built into Apple’s Safari browser, allowing them to track user actions for people who had explicitly restricted such tracking within their browser. The upside to this is obvious. Google is a data driven company and the more they understand an individual’s habits, the better they can present search results and advertisements back to that user.
The move was of course driven by competition. Google is competing against all of the aforementioned companies across a variety of business verticals, and this type of tracking could potentially give them an advantage over their competitors.
Apple playing fast and loose with user data
Apple also made headlines for allowing apps running on the iOS platform to access a user’s contact information without explicitly asking for permission. For anyone who has ever used an iOS app, you are most likely familiar with the app requesting access to your location information or permission to send you push notifications.
The privacy concerns around location are very straight forward. An app that knows where you are in real time can send you suggestions about where to go, what to buy, etc. However, knowing who the user communicates with seems just as fraught with privacy issues. This glaring oversight on the part of Apple drew the eye of Congress, which is now beginning an investigation into this privacy hole in the software.
Here at Ongig, one of our core values is that, with all of the various social sources on the web, a person’s identity can be more closely derived from these sources than it can from the traditional resume. Our most recent blog post details the most common lies people put on their resume. Social sources, on the other hand, are much more authentic. For example, if you are a marketer or business strategist, your social reach through channels like Facebook and Twitter could be paramount in importance.
You better be authentic because many eyeballs will see and vet your online identity. Former employers can see your career information on LinkedIn and if it false, you could be in for some trouble. If you are a coder, GitHub can show people what your code looks like and what your strengths and weaknesses are. The social aspect of all of this makes it incredibly risky to include falsified information in your online profiles.
The problem with all of this is that if the gatekeeper’s of the online information are being duplicitous, then people will not be comfortable putting their identity online and we are back to having to rely on the traditional paper resume. We think this would be an enormous step in the wrong direction.
These companies have have a responsibility above all else to protect our privacy. This is not a trivial responsibility. They are established companies who will be able to weather the storm of these controversies and hopefully make the right moves to regain the confidence of their users. If we at Ongig, a much smaller operation, played loose with a user’s LinkedIn profile (our authoritative identity), we would not have the same luxury.
That is why we protect the user at all costs. We will not post to your wall or in any way compromise your activities on the site by alerting your current employer or other interested parties that you might be looking for another job. Looking for a new job is a highly personal and private activity, and while we will lean on social sources to derive our user’s identities instead of a traditional paper resume, our highest priority is to protect the user in this pursuit.